Army Secretary John McHugh says he will step down no later than November 1, after leading the service for the past six years.

McHugh, 66, is one of the few agency secretaries remaining in office who have been serving since the start of President Barack Obama's first term. During his tenure he has served with four secretaries of defense.

The Pentagon says McHugh expressed his desire to leave several weeks ago. He told Obama that he plans to leave by November so there will be enough time for a smooth transition with his successor.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who only recently took office, says McHugh helped lead the Army through a period of challenge and change, and soldiers are better off now because of his hard work and vision.