Pentagon announces new press secretary after Kirby departure to White House

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Thursday that Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder will be the Pentagon’s new press secretary, following John Kirby’s departure in May. 

“He brings a wealth of experience, including joint and deployed assignments that will serve him well as he informs the media of our activities around the world,” Austin said in a statement. 

“I am confident that I will benefit from his counsel, and that the American people will benefit from his ability to clearly and consistently communicate our efforts to protect the United States and its interests around the world, take care of our people, and strengthen our unrivaled alliances and partnerships,” continued the defense secretary.

Ryder, who currently serves as the Department of the Air Force director of public affairs, will be the first uniformed spokesperson to fill the position since 2015. He is expected to close out his responsibilities as Air Force director over the next several weeks before assuming his new position later this month.

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Joint Staff spokesperson Air Force Col. Patrick S. Ryder attends a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Sept. 19, 2019.

Joint Staff spokesperson Air Force Col. Patrick S. Ryder attends a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Sept. 19, 2019. (Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Ryder’s assignment comes after Kirby left the position to work as the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications.

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John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, takes part in a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 1, 2022.

John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, takes part in a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 1, 2022. (Reuters/Leah Millis)

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Ryder previously worked with Austin from 2013 to 2016 at U.S. Central Command. Ryder then went on to serve as head spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2017 to 2019. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia's annual defense and security forum, in Singapore on June 11, 2022.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during the 19th International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia’s annual defense and security forum, in Singapore on June 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Danial Hakim)

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