“Following some time off, I will then return to private practice,” Johnson said, in a letter to President Obama, dated Thursday.
The letter caps a week of high-profile news for Johnson, who first appeared in London to deliver a vigorous defense of the U.S. drone war on terrorists, then questioned the proper duration to continue employing the military in a global war on terrorism, before his name was floated as a potential successor to Eric Holder as attorney general of the United States.
Johnson’s departure from the Pentagon doesn’t prevent him from taking another post in government during the second Obama administration, but it certainly means there’s no fast track to the Department of Justice.
Johnson oversaw the Pentagon’s effort to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” restriction barring openly gay service members, among other milestones. But he leaves behind one major incomplete for the Obama administration: the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.