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Lynn Stepping Down: Bill Lynn on Thursday announced that he is stepping down as deputy defense secretary, a position he's held since February 2009, to return to private life. He informed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of these plans last week, said Pentagon officials. At Panetta's request, Lynn has agreed to remain until his successor is in place this fall, they said. "Bill Lynn has provided outstanding advice and counsel to this department and to the nation over the course of his long career," said Panetta. "His service will be greatly missed." During his tenure, Lynn helped create a new space policy, the Pentagon's first-ever operational energy strategy, and a cyber strategy. He oversaw the Defense Department's budget process, relations with the defense industry, and its acquisition process, including the successful competition for the Air Force's KC-X tanker. "It has been a rare privilege to serve in the Department of Defense during such a challenging time," said Lynn.