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USA defence chief of staff Kevin Sweeney resigns

USA defence chief of staff Kevin Sweeney resigns

Kevin Sweeney has resigned as Pentagon chief of staff after serving the defense secretary for two years.

In a brief statement posted on Saturday evening, Sweeney said: "I've decided the time is right to return to the private sector".

His resignation statement pointedly makes no mention of Mr Trump and says it had been an "an honour to serve" alongside his colleagues in the department.

Sweeney retired as a rear admiral in 2014. In April 2001, Sweeney assumed command of USS Cole in and he was responsible for Cole's restoration and return to fleet operations in April 2002.

"In normal times, the resignation of a chief of staff following the departure of a secretary of defense would not only be seen as unsurprising, but as expected", former Pentagon official Brent Colburn told the outlet.

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Mattis announced his resignation following Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

While General Mattis had planned on remaining in the position until February 28 to allow for a "smooth transition", Mr Trump pushed for his early departure.

In his resignation letter to Mr Trump, General Mattis said the President deserved a defence secretary "whose views are better aligned" with his own.

Department spokeswoman Dana White also left her post after the president's surprise announcement on Syria.

CNN earlier reported that Sweeney was forced out by the Trump White House. "Patrick Shanahan, who is Acting Secretary of Defense, is doing a great job!" he said.