President Nominates Shanahan for Defense Secretary

The White House says President Donald Trump will nominate Pat Shanahan as the next secretary of defense.

Shanahan, who has served as acting secretary of defense since January, “has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense, and he will continue to do an excellent job,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Thursday.

“I am honored,” Shanahan poster on Twitter. “If confirmed by the Senate … I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have everything they need to keep our military lethal and our country safe.”

Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon that he first heard of the president’s intent to nominate him while he was at the White House earlier Thursday.

Unlike his predecessor, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, who served more than 40 years in the military before taking the Pentagon’s top civilian post, Shanahan spent more than 30 years in private industry working for the Boeing aircraft manufacturing company.

Critics have raised concern about his lack of military experience and about the potential bias toward his old company, which wins many Pentagon contracts to build military technologies.

If confirmed, he would not be the first to lead the department without having served in the military. The most recent example is Ash Carter, who served as defense secretary under former President Barack Obama.

And an ethics investigation into potential bias earlier this year concluded that Shanahan did not violate ethics agreements or promote his longtime employer, according to the Defense Department inspector general.

Pentagon officials told VOA they felt that the probe’s findings had cleared the way for Shanahan’s nomination.

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