WASHINGTON — Randall Schriver, the defense department’s top policy official for Asia, has left the Pentagon.

Schriver, who has served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs since Jan. 2018, is exiting the government to return to private life, according to chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Schriver received generally positive reviews from regional partners, who viewed him as a traditional Republican voice on defense issues. Schriver previously served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2003 to 2005, and as chief of staff and senior policy adviser to Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state, from 2001 to 2003. He was also president and CEO of the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank with the goal of creating “a more secure Asia by 2049,” according to its website.

In the last year, Schriver spearheaded a reorganization of the Pacific policy team. Previously, there were three deputy secretary of defense offices for the region: one on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia; one on Southeast Asia with India, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand; and one on East Asia, tracking Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, China and Taiwan.

Schriver reorganized the Southeast and East Asia portfolios, breaking down regional barriers to align nations like Australia and Japan that have strong ties. More importantly, he stood up a brand new office — a DASD for China, the only single-nation focused office among the 21 regional DASD teams. Schriver told Defense News in October that the new office should serve as a “stabilizing force” in overall relations between China and the U.S., while also helping to “drive alignment on China across the department.”

His exit leaves another hole in the OSD-Policy team, led by undersecretary John Rood. David Trachtenberg, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, retired in July, while Robert Karem departed as ASD for International Security Affairs last October; both those roles are being filled by acting individuals. Currently, six of the 21 DASD positions are unfilled; Reed Werner, the DASD for South and Southeast Asia, just took office.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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