Doug Wilson, the Pentagon's top public affairs official, announced he is stepping down next month.
"I have enjoyed a wonderful career in foreign policy and communications," Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, told National Journal, "and so far I have worked virtually without interruption for almost 40 years -- much of it in government. For me, these past two years have been a high point by every possible measure.
"But everyone reaches a place where they need to take a break and re-charge. President Obama gave me the chance of a lifetime by selecting me for this position, in which I have had the opportunity to work with so many outstanding military leaders and for two of the finest and most respected individuals in America, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates. I'm looking forward now to catching my breath. I also look forward to being able to serve my country again in the future."
After a few months off, Wilson said he will "do some writing" and speaking on national security.
Wilson also had the honor of being both the highest-ranking gay and Jewish official in the Pentagon. He surprised many in the Pentagon when after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" he was featured in an article in the Washington Blade. Wilson said at the time he took the repeal effort seriously as a matter of national security, but it touched a personal nerve throughout.
"I know what it's like to feel like you're not a whole person," he told the Blade.