Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Trump considering former Democratic Senator Webb for defense secretary

Trump considering former Democratic Senator Webb for defense secretary

Shanahan, who has been serving as deputy defense secretary, worked his first day in office as acting defense secretary on January 2 as the replacement for Jim Mattis, who resigned as defense chief on December 20, saying his policies were not fully "aligned" with the president. For instance, when Mattis was head of US Central Command, he advocated for the military to buy blood-testing products from Theranos, the board of directors of which he later became a member.

A defense official said Shanahan told the Pentagon gathering that he is focused on the strategy that was developed and put in place under Mattis, a retired Marine general.

"While we are focused on ongoing operations, Acting Secretary Shanahan told the team to remember China, China, China", the defense official said.

Mattis' public resignation could also make Senate confirmation perilous for any hand-picked successor. "As you know, President Obama fired him, and essentially so did I", he explained to reporters, contradicting an earlier statement.

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"In 2019, the National Defense Strategy remains our guide".

Mattis resigned after Trump's surprise decisions to withdraw all United States troops from Syria and half of the 14,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan.

As he started his new job, Shanahan, who previously served as deputy defense secretary, told the Pentagon to focus on the National Defense Strategy, a Mattis-era review that highlights a new era of "Great Power competition" with Russian Federation and China. "We need to control our borders", he said.

Webb, largely viewed as a moderate Democrat with Republican presidential administration credentials under his belt, said that resolving issues with the U.S.

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Shanahan, best known for his focus on internal Pentagon reform and his private-sector experience, had spent three decades at Boeing and was the general manager for the 787 Dreamliner passenger jet before he joined the Pentagon a year ago.

It was a very public reminder of the challenges that Shanahan, as acting defense secretary, faces as he navigates the complex terrain that led to the early end of his predecessor's tenure.

But some critics have questioned whether a man with deep industry ties should be running the Pentagon.

Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino, Shanahan's spokesman, said he had recused himself from any matters involving Boeing.

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Norquist has been the department's comptroller and chief financial officer since June 2017, and his duties include overseeing the Pentagon's annual budget.

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