President Trump says he’s making Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan acting Pentagon chief, replacing Jim Mattis on Jan.1.
The president announced on Twitter that Mr. Shanahan will take the reins of the Defense Department at the beginning of 2019. It’s unclear whether Mr. Mattis decided to leave his post earlier than expected or whether he’s being forced out ahead of schedule by the White House.
Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who popped up as a surprise choice for deputy secretary of defense in early 2017, has spent the last year focused on reforming the internal processes of the Pentagon.
“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”
I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2018
One source, this one close to Shanahan, said the deputy has “never aspired” to the top job, but wouldn’t rule the option out, reported by Defense News.
“He’s not a policy or geopolitics guy. He’s a business guy,” the source said. “But he’s spent the last year learning from the best. And Shanahan is known for having a good relationship” with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“Too often we focus on process, or budget, or level of effort,” Shanahan told Defense News. “The Pentagon should focus on outcomes and outputs — our performance. This focus on performance should drive us to field unmatched lethality, execute on our modernization plans and achieve this affordably.”
“It’s all about the system and then the reinforcing mechanisms to make that change enduring. Without a system, things fall apart when the leader moves on,” Shanahan noted. “The system or the environment shouldn’t be dependent on the leader’s presence.”
On Saturday, President Donald Trump said he gave Gen. Jim Mattis a “second chance” after he was fired by former President Barack Obama.
“When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Trump described his relationship with Mattis as “interesting” but reminded him that he was better equipped with all the resources following his appointment as the Defence Secretary in January last year.
Mattis suggested that he had strong differences with Trump for his mistreatment of American allies across the globe.
“Allies are very important – but not when they take advantage of U.S.,” Trump wrote.