President Trump tweeted today that he is replacing General James Mattis as Defense Secretary with the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan with effect from 1st January 2019. (see below).
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!
This was a surprise for some in that Mattis had volunteered to remain until February but clearly President Trump wants ‘his man’ in early – and frankly the decision will remove some of the uncertainty that leaving the position open would create.
It is reported that Mr Shanahan, a former executive at the aerospace giant Boeing, joined the Pentagon in July 2017 after Mr Trump nominated him and was a vocal supporter of the President’s plan to establish a sixth branch of the armed forces, known as the “space force”.