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Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England
Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England ()

WASHINGTON — Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England announced Tuesday he will step down from his post after the presidential inauguration.

In a statement England said simply that it is “time for me to leave.”

“When I came into government in early 2001, I anticipated serving for two to four years,” he said. “After almost eight years, it’s now time for me to turn over the reins to a successor.”

England, 71, previously served in the Bush administration as Secretary of the Navy and the first deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

In his statement he praised both president-elect Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, but added “it’s most appropriate for the new administration to name its own deputy.”

England left open the possibility of staying on in the role past Jan. 20, if needed to assure a smooth transition.

According to a report in The Washington Post, Obama transition officials have said leading candidates to replace England include Obama campaign adviser Richard Danzig, Pentagon transition review team co-leader Michèle Flournoy, and former Pentagon comptroller William Lynn.

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