No. 2 at Pentagon to step down 

The No. 2 official at the Pentagon announced on Thursday that he is stepping down. 

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III is leaving his position "to return to private life," according to the Department of Defense. The move didn't come as a surprise, and it opens the door for newly-appointed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to select a new second-in-command.

Lynn, who took the Pentagon position at the start of the Obama Administration, will remain in office until this fall,once Panetta appoints his replacement.

"Bill Lynn has provided outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career," Panetta said in a statement. "I will rely on his experience and expertise during this transition period."


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