Trump considering former Democratic Senator Webb for defence secretary

Who is Patrick Shanahan? Trump's defense secretary pick had long career at Boeing
‘China, China, China’: New Pentagon chief sets priority

04 January, 2019

Shanahan said he's committed to carrying out President Trump's vision at the Pentagon, which includes protecting Taiwan and the South China Sea from Chinese military aggression. Mattis and other Trump advisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade Trump to stay in Syria long enough to ensure that the Islamic State group, which has largely been defeated on the battlefield, can not regroup.

Mattis stepped down as defense secretary last month over differences with Trump on a host of national security issues, particularly Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

He said he told the generals, "Why don't you let them fight?" It said what it described as a senior Defense Department official confirmed Webb's name had been circulating at the White House.

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrives for his first day in his new job at the Pentagon.

Trump also said he wasn't happy with Mattis' work in Afghanistan. This included naming David Norquist, the Pentagon's comptroller, to perform deputy defence secretary duties provisionally as well as retaining his current title.

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At a White House cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump criticized Mattis' handling of the Afghanistan war, which he said was "not too good" despite additional funding and manpower commitments. "We're not talking about vast wealth", Trump said. Mattis said he would stay until the end of February, but on December 23 Trump announced that Shanahan would take over January 1, speeding up Mattis' departure.

Shanahan told key Defense Department staff to focus on the National Defense Strategy, a broad review that highlights a new era of "Great Power competition" with Russian Federation and China.

Opposed to both the never-ending Middle Eastern conflict and the Iran nuclear deal, and hawkish on China, which he called "the greatest strategic threat that we have right now" during his short-lived primary run, Webb appears to be a good foreign policy fit for the Trump administration's new direction. Before that, he spent more than 30 years at Boeing.

Shanahan, a native of Washington state, holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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