Charles E. "Charlie" Summers, Jr., a former Maine Republican politician and Navy reserve captain, has been named as the new chief spokesman for the Pentagon, replacing Dana White, who held the post under outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
In a one-sentence announcement Monday, the Pentagon's office of press affairs said Summers "will be the Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs beginning 1 January" to serve as the principal media assistant to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
The replacement of White, who had a sometimes testy relationship with Pentagon reporters, had been expected since Mattis announced his resignation on Dec. 20. Summers had been serving as Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Shanahan, the Deputy Defense Secretary and No. 2 at the Pentagon, was President Donald Trump's choice to serve as Acting Secretary until a permanent successor is nominated. Shanahan's appointment as Acting Secretary was to take effect at midnight Monday.
In a message post to Twitter Monday, White said "I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by this administration to serve alongside Secretary Mattis, our service members and all the civilians who support them. It has been my honor and privilege. Stay safe and God bless."
White was previously a staffer at the Senate Armed Services Committee, and was an advisor to Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, during his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008.
In August, she reportedly came under investigation by the Pentagon's Inspector General, allegedly for having aides run personal errands, according to CNN.
Summers, a businessman and an aide to former Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, is a former state senator from Maine who ran unsuccessfully several times for a House seat from Maine. In 2012, he ran for the Maine Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Snowe, but lost to Sen. Angus King, an Independent.
Summers has been a public affairs officer in the Navy reserve since 1995 and currently holds the rank of Captain. He was called up following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and later served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.