Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin picked an Air Force general to serve as the next Pentagon press secretary, a move that could spark controversy over the use of an active-duty military officer in a position that occasionally veers into the realm of partisan politics.
Mr. Austin selected Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, now the director of public affairs for the Air Force.
“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,” Mr. Austin said in a statement released Thursday.
He will replace John Kirby, a retired Navy admiral who was moved to the White House where he now serves as the highly visible spokesman for the National Security Council. Mr. Kirby was the last active-duty military officer to hold the chief Pentagon spokesman job, during the Obama administration.
Gen. Ryder is expected to take on the new assignment later this month once he wraps up his Air Force and Space Force responsibilities, Mr. Austin said.