US Diplomacy Gets Retiring Naval Face for Global Audience

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Washington, DC – The Obama Administration brought in a retiring US Naval officer and former Press Secretary for the Pentagon as the new State Department Spokesperson as the US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed John Kirby in a statement.

Secretary Kerry said, “I am pleased to welcome John Kirby as our new State Department Spokesperson. I first got to know John’s work several years ago, when I was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and he was spokesperson for Admiral Mike Mullen and then Chief of Information for the Navy.”

Highlighting the qualities of Kirby, Kerry said, “John was known as the Navy’s indispensable utility player – it didn’t matter whether he was serving as an instructor at the US Naval Academy, a public affairs officer for the Blue Angels, or aboard multiple Navy vessels – name the challenge – at every stage of his career, including in his most recent assignment as the Pentagon’s top spokesman, John has stood out for his impeccable judgment, collegiality, and character. And he understands the media – absolutely.”

“John has always – intuitively, instinctively – gravitated toward diplomacy, and I know that he is looking forward to that focus as he retires from the Navy and moves into civilian life. All of this makes him the perfect person to help tell America’s story to the world,” added Kerry.

Kerry, however, spoke highly of the present Acting Spokesperson and Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, “I also want to recognize the extraordinary work of Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, who stepped in seamlessly as Acting Spokesperson over the past few months. Marie has made a contribution to every important thing I’ve done as Secretary and plays a particularly important role in leading the communications strategy for our Iran negotiations.”

Earlier in February Navy Rear Admiral Kirby, the then press secretary of the Pentagon announced his sudden resignation just one day after the new Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter was sworn into office.

During a press briefing, Kirby confirmed his resignation and acknowledged that Secretary Carter was looking for a civilian to replace him. “One of the questions that I think he wants to rhetorically ask, or consider, is not just who the individual is, but what that individual represents, and whether it’s appropriate or not to have a uniform up here,” Kirby said, adding,“Those are fair questions for him to ask as he comes into the job.”

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