Army Col. Steve Warren, a highly respected military briefer, has been rejected for a position as a civilian spokesman for the Pentagon by the White House, the Pentagon said Wednesday.
Warren, a former director of Pentagon press operations and top military spokesman in Baghdad, submitted his retirement papers in June, and was expecting to return to the Pentagon this fall to serve as a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
"Colonel Steve Warren departed OSD/PA on terminal leave as part of his retirement process," said chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White in an email to the Washington Examiner late Wednesday.
"His name was put forth for consideration as a political appointee within OSD/PA once he retired," White said. "Unfortunately, the White House determined he was not a suitable candidate for the position."
Warren was a darling of the Pentagon press corps, who appreciated his blunt, straight-shooting style and his memorable quotes.
In a job that often requires a defense of the complicated nuances of war, Warren earned high marks for credibility from notoriously skeptical reporters.
A former boxer, Warren enjoyed sparring with reporters, pounding them with facts and peppering his commentary with quick verbal jabs.
When announcing that a coalition airstike had killed a mid-level Islamic State commander last year, he couldn't help but gloat. "He was sort of a cheerleader for the local forces here. And he's a cheerleader who will cheer no more [pause for effect] because he's dead."
Sources say Warren was told last week that his services would not be needed, but was given no specific reason.
Warren, who was unavailable for comment, is said to be seeking other post-retirement employment opportunities.
The news of Warren's rejection was first reported by Foreign Policy.