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ARLINGTON, Va. — The No. 2 man in the Defense Department will now only wear one hat.

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England relinquished his post as Navy secretary on Thursday, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

England has held both positions while his confirmation as deputy defense secretary was held up in the Senate for the past eight months, Whitman said.

The Senate has yet to vote on England’s nomination, Whitman said.

But the Senate has confirmed England’s successor as Navy secretary, Donald Winter, who will be sworn in Jan. 3, Whitman said.

In the interval, Dionel M. Aviles will serve as acting Navy Secretary, Whitman said.

“It has been a profound honor to serve with the magnificent men and women of the United States Navy and Marine Corps,” England said in a Thursday news release. “I am most privileged to be able to continue serving our armed forces as the deputy to Secretary Rumsfeld.”

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been unable to have the Senate vote on England’s nomination, said committee spokesman John Ullyot.

Ullyot declined to comment on why the Senate has yet to vote.

“As a general policy, we don’t comment on holds or other parliamentary maneuvers the Senate might take,” he said.

The Senate and Defense Department reached an agreement in November allowing England to retain a position in the government after stepping down as Navy secretary so that he could continue to act as deputy defense secretary while the Senate processes his nomination, officials said.

“Sen. Warner is working hard to get him confirmed because he believes it is absolutely essential [to have] a full-time deputy secretary at the Pentagon during wartime,” Ullyot said.

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