Top Pentagon Official Removed From Her Post

Top Pentagon Official Removed From Her Post

( – Americans typically expect changes within the upper echelons of the federal government whenever a new president takes office. However, these decisions are much less common just months after the new administration’s entrance. They’re especially noteworthy when experts know the official losing their job often introduces ideas contrary to the president’s policies.

A puzzling situation just like this happened to deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense Leonor Tomero when the DOD asked her to resign this week.

News Breaks of Tomero’s Departure

Since President Joe Biden’s inauguration day, Tomero has served the Department of Defense (DOD) and current administration by overseeing the review of Biden’s nuclear policy, among other duties. Two associates close to Tomero told Politico that the DOD is eliminating her job to “align its organization structure with [Defense Secretary Lloyd] Austin’s priorities.”

According to The Washington Post, the DOD asked Tomero to resign from her duties. The Pentagon’s newly created assistant secretary for space will take over Tomero’s job description.

Nuclear Weapons Experts Question the Move

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, highlighted that this personnel change was not new in the grand scheme of politics. He asserted that “people who point out alternatives to current national security policies are systematically driven out of positions of authority,” and Tomero’s departure is a prime example of this.

Pentagon officials defended the decision, emphasizing the move was “a reorganization decision to more appropriately align our organization with policy objectives” rather than a “difference in opinion.”

Biden’s Stance on Nuclear Weapons

During his presidency, Barack Obama considered making it an official policy that the US would not be the first nation to use a nuclear weapon. When serving as vice president to Obama, Biden supported this proposed “No First Use” policy. However, President Donald Trump strongly condemned that plan during his time in office.

Biden hinted in 2017 that he still supported the “No First Use” policy, and ran in 2020 telling supporters he hoped to rely less on nuclear weapons moving forward. In contrast to his campaign statements, though, Biden’s first defense budget supported two nuclear missile initiatives that began under President Trump and upgrading the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Is This a “Yes, Man” Administration?

Many Americans wonder what the true reason is that the DOD asked Leonor Tomero to resign from her post. While the Pentagon says it had nothing to do with a difference of opinion, they also would never openly admit to doing such a thing.

If Tomero was questioning policy, could her departure signify a deep “yes man” mentality in the current administration? If so, who else is the Biden administration threatening with resignation should they offer an opinion different from the prevailing one?

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