Off the Job

By Marjorie Censer / April 28, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Welcome to the building, Ash Carter.

Carter’s predecessor, John Young, left the Pentagon yesterday -- but not without saying a few words about what it’s like to be the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Don’t expect to see those words on any recruiting posters.

“You get paid a salary but -- beyond that -- you become almost a monk and get all kinds of restrictions levied on you for coming in here and trying to help your country and do the right thing,” he told reporters yesterday.

And, he added, a person in his position “can't participate in the economy, you have every possibility that you could be in limbo for months as you're waiting to be confirmed in these positions, and then once you're in these positions you're going to be subjected to excessive mandates that operate from the presumption that you are an unethical person.”

He blamed Congress for holding up his confirmation for six months, limiting his effectiveness.

“I was acting ((acquisition executive)), but -- knowing that you could create new holds by pro-actively doing your job -- I had to be careful,” Young said. “I actually ignored that and I went ahead and did things like restructuring the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ((program)) and other things, but it was probably at my peril and risk to do those things.”

So what’s next?

Young said he would leave the Pentagon “an unemployed individual,” and said he had “no idea” what he’d do next. “Despite what some people have inaccurately written, I have not interviewed, looked for jobs, filed recusals -- I've done nothing because I do not want to bring any more controversy on the acquisition team.”

He did say he'd start looking “probably not too far down the road.”