Trump picks former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan as secretary of defense

5262599After five months as acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan will be nominated as President Trump's secretary of defense.Lisa Ferdinando/DoD

  • The White House announced Thursday afternoon that President Donald Trump intends to select Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as the new Secretary of Defense.
  • Shanahan has served as the acting defense secretary for 5 months, an unprecedented stretch for the Pentagon to go without a permanent secretary in wartime.
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Patrick Shanahan, who has led the Pentagon since the start of the year, as the new secretary of defense, the White House announced Thursday.

The White House praised Shanahan's "outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead" in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Shanahan has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense."

"I am honored by today's announcement of President Trump's intent to nominate. If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy," Shanahan said in a separate statement. "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, previously the deputy secretary of defense, took over as acting secretary on January 1 after Jim Mattis resigned from his office after a disagreement with the president over Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria, and delivered a stinging rebuke of the president's foreign policy.

Read more: Mattis' letter is a sharp rebuke to Trump's 'America First' philosophy

In his resignation letter, Mattis suggested that Trump find a defense secretary with views more closely aligned with his own on issues such as the security of international order, the treatment of allies, and the handling of American adversaries.

"Let's not worry about whether he's a 'yes man' or a 'no man' but whether he's a 'can-do' man," Shanahan said earlier this year, adding, "I just spend all my time getting stuff done," reported Bloomberg, which first reported the news that Trump planned to pick Shanahan.

A Pentagon watchdog recently cleared Shanahan, who spent most of his career at Boeing, of bias against against Boeing competitor Lockheed Martin, the maker of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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