One of the many heroes in the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) has resigned. Jeh Johnson, the general counsel at the department of defense, will return to the private sector at the end of the month. Johnson is one of those impressive people for whom public service is a form of thrill-seeking. His current stint at the Pentagon is his third tour away from private law practice in New York City. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in New York (1988 to 1991) and he was the general counsel of the Air Force (1998 to 2000). Johnson has been at defense since the beginning of President Obama’s term. He’s had to deal with myriad complicated and controversial issues, from the prison at Guantanamo Bay and military tribunals to the growing use of drones. Conducting and co-writing (with Army Gen. Carter F. Ham) the study on the impact of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military was no less complicated or controversial.
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