The Pentagon’s acting policy chief will leave her post this spring.

Sasha Baker’s departure will open a new gap in an office struggling to fill its top seats for almost a year. Colin Kahl, who the Senate narrowly confirmed to the position in 2021, left last summer. Since then, Baker has temporarily held the role.

Replacing her will be Amanda Dory, director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University and an alumna of the Pentagon policy office.

The White House nominated Derek Chollet, a high-ranking State Department official, to the top policy job in July 2023. Chollet testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in late September, facing difficult questions about his role in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The committee has not voted on his nomination.

“The sooner that confirmation can occur, the better,” Pentagon press secretary Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters this morning.

Ryder did not address why the nomination is stuck, instead referring reporters to Congress. The White House, as required by law, renominated Chollet at the start of 2024.

Meanwhile, the second-highest position in Pentagon policy will also soon go vacant. Last week the Senate committee voted for Melissa Dalton, who has filled the deputy role since Mara Karlin departed late last year, to be undersecretary of the Air Force.

A spokesperson for Baker did not say where she plans to move after leaving the Pentagon at the end of April.

Noah Robertson is the Pentagon reporter at Defense News. He previously covered national security for the Christian Science Monitor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and government from the College of William & Mary in his hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia.

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