Acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller told a group of reporters traveling with him this week that he cannot wait to leave his job, according to a transcript of the conversation posted on the Defense Department’s website.
Miller made the comment upon being asked about the flaws in Pentagon acquisition programs, including the F-35 joint strike fighter and the littoral combat ship, both of which faced significant delays and cost overruns.
“I cannot wait to leave this job, believe me,” Miller said, according to the transcript posted Friday. “But part of me is like, I would have loved to have gotten involved in the acquisition process and try . . . and you know, talk about wicked problem.”
The comment appears to have been a joke about the difficulty of solving a thorny issue that has long dogged the Pentagon. It comes at a sensitive time for the acting defense secretary, who found himself in the middle of the Pentagon’s response to the riot at the Capitol just two months into the job.
“The Secretary often uses casual and humorous language with reporters and personnel during travel. That characteristic does not convey well in a written transcript but was obvious to participants,” a defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe Miller’s thinking.
Miller, who served in the D.C. National Guard as a military policeman, made the decision to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol amid the riot last week, but the Pentagon has come under fire from D.C. and Capitol Police officials for not sending out the Guard fast enough.
Pentagon officials have said D.C. authorities requested only a modest Guard presence in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot and the Capitol Police requested no Guard presence at all. They say they mobilized as fast as they could from a cold start, having not prepared the D.C. Guard to respond to a riot.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Paul Sonne