Former Pentagon spokesman shifts to State Department
WASHINGTON - The State Department has officially appointed rear admiral John Kirby, formerly the Pentagon's chief spokesman, as its new spokesman, Secretary of State John Kerry announced Wednesday.
Kirby, whose first day on the job was Wednesday, will be responsible for explaining US foreign policy to the world, a role that makes the post of State Department spokesman one of the most visible in government.
Kerry praised Kirby for his "impeccable judgement, collegiality and character" over the course of a military career that culminated as the top Defense Department spokesman.
"All of this makes him the perfect person to help tell America's story to the world," Kerry said.
The two-star naval officer, who had to retire from the military to take up the civilian post, was tapped for the job last month after the agency's former spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki left to become the White House communications director.
Kirby was the Pentagon's press secretary from December 2013 until February, stepping down after new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said he wanted a civilian in the job.
Kerry also praised the work of acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, citing her role in devising the agency's communications strategy on the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Both Harf and Psaki were frequent targets on social media, especially Russian media, which they attributed to sexism.