Trump Assailed Shanahan For Lack Of Progress On Border Wall

President Donald Trump listens as acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks during an expanded bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Cabinet Room of the White House Tuesday

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday said President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to become the USA secretary of defense, following his time serving as acting secretary.

"Based upon his outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead, President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to be the Secretary of Defense", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Trump informed Shanahan on Thursday that he wants him to continue running the Pentagon and will nominate him to be defense secretary.

The former Boeing executive has been leading the Pentagon as acting secretary since January 1.

Shanahan said in a statement that he was honored by Trump's announcement.

But like nearly all recent Trump appointees, Shanahan, 56, is almost a certainty to face a highly charged confirmation battle, Senate sources assured Newsmax. "I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have everything hey need to keep our military lethal and our country safe".

The top Pentagon post has been vacant since former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in December over disagreements with the president, including his abrupt decision to withdraw USA forces from Syria.

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"I have to have confidence that the fox is not going to be put back into the henhouse", said McCain, who died in August.

Six Democratic members of the SASC sent a letter to Shanahan last month saying they are "extraordinarily distressed" about the potential to damage military readiness the military's new role on the border might present.

Presidents typically take pains to ensure the Pentagon is being run by a Senate-confirmed official, given the grave responsibilities that include sending young Americans into battle, ensuring the military is ready for extreme emergencies like nuclear war and managing overseas alliances that are central to US security. While Mattis initially planned to leave his post late in February, Trump cut his term short, effectively kicking him out and entrusting the post to his deputy.

That is a full plate for any policymaker, but particularly one who had had no relevant foreign policy or military experience since becoming Mattis' deputy less than two years ago. "No change to the priorities", Shanahan said at the time.

The son of a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam and later became a police officer, Shanahan grew up in Washington state and studied engineering and business at the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shanahan joined the administration in April 2017 after a 30-year career at Boeing. Trump also has publicly lauded Boeing, builder of numerous military's most prominent aircraft, including the Apache and Chinook helicopters, the C-17 cargo plane and the B-52 bomber, as well as the iconic presidential aircraft, Air Force One.

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