Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Anthony Tata, a retired brigadier general whose nomination for a top Pentagon job was abruptly canceled in July, has stepped into the role of acting policy chief for the Department of Defense following the resignation of James Anderson Tuesday.
"I am particularly grateful to have been entrusted with leading the dedicated men and women of Policy, who play a key role in our Nation's security," Anderson wrote in his letter of resignation. "Now, as ever, our long-term success depends on adhering to the U.S. Constitution all public servants swear to support and defend."
Tata had been performing as second in command for policy, is now overseeing the Pentagon's policy department.
The shakeup follows President Donald Trump's Monday firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper via a Twitter message announcing that Christopher C. Miller, National Counterterrorism Center director, will replace him.
On Tuesday evening the Pentagon confirmed that Anderson had resigned, as had under secretary of defense for intelligence and security Joseph Kernan and Jen Stewart, chief of staff to the secretary of defense, confirming earlier reporting from Politico, the Wall Street Journal and Foreign Policy.
"I want to thank Dr. Anderson, Admiral Kernan and Jen Stewart for their service to the nation and the Department," Miller said. "Over their careers each has contributed greatly to the national defense and the future of the Department of Defense. We wish them the best in their next endeavors."
Trump nominated Tata to serve as undersecretary of defense for policy earlier this year, but the July confirmation hearing was canceled at the last minute amid reports that the Senate was not likely to confirm him.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., chair of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement Tuesday warning that Anderson's resignation and Esper's firing "could mark the beginning of a process of gutting the DoD -- something that should alarm all Americans."
"As soon as Former Vice President Biden became President-Elect Biden, President Trump and those loyal to him started to sow chaos and division. It appears that chaos has now reached the Pentagon," Smith wrote.
"If this is the beginning of a trend -- the President either firing or forcing out national security professionals in order to replace them with people perceived as more loyal to him -- then the next 70 days will be precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst."