Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson ()

WASHINGTON — Assistant Secretary of Defense Douglas Wilson, who heads of the U.S. military’s global public affairs arm, announced his retirement Thursday.

Wilson, who took over the post in early 2010, said he would leave the Pentagon in late March. He’ll be replaced by an as-yet unannounced nominee chosen by President Barack Obama.

“I’m going to recharge, take a break,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being able again to serve the country at some point.”

The Tucson, Ariz., native has served as a Defense Department public affairs official on and off since the 1990s. The department’s highest-ranking openly gay official, he has publicly described last year’s overturning of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as a personal victory.

Wilson, also an Obama nominee, said he planned to support the president’s re-election campaign without being a formal part of it. He said he would focus in his retirement on the welfare of military families and wounded warriors.

Pentagon press secretary George Little told the press Thursday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta appreciated Wilson’s “wise counsel” in public affairs matters.

“He’ll miss Doug’s insights, energy and the commitment he consistently demonstrates to our men and women in uniform,” Little said.

carrollc@stripes.osd.milTwitter: @ChrisCarroll_

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