Mattis is leaving early. Trump has picked Patrick Shanahan as the Acting Secretary of Defense. Shanahan has served as the Deputy Secretary of Defense since July of 2017.
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
Who is Patrick Shanahan?
Yahoo News reported,
Shanahan, who is originally from Washington state, has been the deputy secretary of defense since July 2017. Before joining the government, Shanahan spent 32 years working for Boeing, a major defense contractor. He was most recently the company’s senior vice president of supply chain and operations.
During his career at Boeing, Shanahan served as senior vice president of commercial airplane programs and had leadership positions in the development of various aircraft and weapons. As vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, he oversaw the creation of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which can target and destroy ballistic missiles, and the development of aircraft-based laser weapons. And as vice president and general manager of Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, he oversaw the development of combat helicopters, including the Apache and Chinook, and the Osprey, which Boeing calls the “most in-demand aircraft” with the Marine Corps.
It’s unclear whether Mr. Shanahan will be the permanent Secretary of Defense, or whether he will be confirmed if he is chosen. He is not a military veteran, but has extensive knowledge of weapons systems. The Secretary of Defense is a civilian position – Gen Mattis had to have a special congressional waiver to get the job. It will be difficult to find a military veteran to fill the position, since the General left due to differences with the President’s policy.
Clarifying: James Mattis said he would stay until the end of February only because that would give the President time to choose a new SecDef. By choosing someone already in the system of the DoD, that issue was rectified.
Featured photo: Patrick Shanahan by Monica King, US Army, released