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Acting Defense Chief Shanahan Tapped to Succeed Mattis at Pentagon

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Unread 05.11.19, 03:32 AM
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Acting Defense Chief Shanahan Tapped to Succeed Mattis at Pentagon

On 05.10.19 07:27 AM posted by Thomas Spoehr

PresidentDonald Trump on Thursday nominated Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahanto be the secretary of defense—and none too soon.

Shanahanhas been the longest-serving acting secretary of defense in the nation’shistory, assuming the position upon the departure of James Mattis on Jan. 1.

Thenomination of a permanent secretary of defense is a good thing for America and forthe Pentagon. As the Senate-confirmed defense chief, Shanahan will be able toset policy and give direction with the assurance that it will not be quicklysuperseded by another.

Hewill enjoy a greater ability to work with key allies and partners as a Cabinetofficial who enjoys the full confidence of the president.

Shanahanresponded to his nomination byTrump by tweeting, “I am honored by today’s announcement … . If confirmed bythe Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our NationalDefense Strategy.”

While some will note that Shanahan doesn’t have the experience working with the military that his predecessor, Mattis—a retired four-star Marine general—had, those who do so overlook the fact that it was Mattis who was the exception to the normal career pattern for secretaries of defense.

With the notable exception of Gen. George C. Marshall, who was secretary of defense from 1950 to 1951, almost none have come into the job with an extensive military background. More typically, nominees are former congressmen, senators, lawyers, academics, or bureaucrats.

Shanahan has spent nearly his entire career as an executive working for the Boeing Co., in particular managing the Boeing 757 program. He’s known as a determined and hardworking leader with a zeal for obtaining performance.

Inrecent months, Shanahan has demonstrated that he can handle the job. He hasnavigated some delicate issues, including representing the United States at theMunich Security Conference in February, rolled out a controversial proposal fora Space Force, managed questions about the role of the Department of Defense onthe southern border, and competently testified before Congress on the 2020defense budget.

If confirmed by the Senate, Shanahan will not lack for challenges. There are critical policy decisions that the president will need the Pentagon’s advice on, including on Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, China, Russia, and others.

Healso will need to seek allies and partners in Congress.

America’s national defense is critically important in these uncertain times. Having an experienced, Senate-confirmed secretary of defense is critically important, so it’s welcome news that Shanahan has been nominated for the position.

The post Acting Defense Chief Shanahan Tapped to Succeed Mattis at Pentagon appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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