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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 20, 2021

No, Christopher Miller isn’t still defense secretary

If Your Time is short

  • Christopher Miller was appointed acting defense secretary in November by then-President Donald Trump. He left the position on Jan. 20, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated. Lloyd Austin was sworn in as the new defense secretary two days later.

In November, then-President Donald Trump announced that Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been "terminated" and would be replaced by Christopher Miller, who was then director of the National Counterterrorism Center. 

Miller stayed in that post until Jan. 20, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated. The position is now held by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who was sworn in on Jan. 22

But casting unfounded and false aspersions on the validity of Biden’s election, the narrator of a recent Facebook video says, "Chris Miller is, I believe, right now, in charge of the military, second only to Trump." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Miller has made public statements since leaving the Pentagon earlier this year, but none in the capacity of a man in charge of the military. A man who was once in charge of the military? Sure. 

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In May, he told lawmakers that he believed the Jan. 6 insurrection was "an organized conspiracy with assault elements in place." 


During an interview with Military Times in August, he criticized the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying, "we mishandled this so dramatically." 

Asked what he would have done, Miller said, "It’s easy for me to stay what I would have done. It’s not relevant. I thought we very much had a plan for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in an orderly, deliberate process. Now, why that wasn’t executed by this administration is beyond my knowledge at this time. I don’t know why that is." 

We rate this post Pants on Fire.


Our Sources

Facebook post, Oct. 18, 2021

NPR, Defense Secretary Mark Esper to be replaced by Christopher C. Miller, Nov. 9, 2020

U.S. Department of Defense, Christopher C. Miller, visited Oct. 20, 2021

U.S. Department of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, visited Oct. 20, 2021

The Washington Post, Trump’s Pentagon chief attributes Capitol breach to ‘organized conspiracy,’ May 12, 2021

Military Times, ‘We mishandled this so dramatically,’: Trump acting SECDEF Chris Miller on US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2021


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