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Mattis To Leave Defense On January 1: Deputy Defense Secretary Shanahan To Serve As Acting Secretary

Mattis To Leave Defense On January 1: Deputy Defense Secretary Shanahan To Serve As Acting Secretary

Trump tweets: “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”

https://twitter.com/DepSecDef?lang=en

Earlier this week, Kemberlee blogged that Mattis was resigning at the end of February.  You can read his resignation letter here.

The timeline has been changed by President Trump, however, and now Mattis will be leaving his position as Defense Secretary as of January 1, 2019.  The current Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will become Acting Secretary on January 1st.

Fox News reports:

President Trump announced Sunday that Defense Secretary James Mattis will be leaving the administration on January 1, weeks earlier than planned and just days after Mattis’ bombshell resignation letter made clear his policy disagreements with the White House.

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday morning. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing. He will be great!”

Here is the president’s tweet:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1076881816462737408

In another tweet, President Trump made an interesting observation revealing his take on the policy differences between himself and Mattis.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1076663817831153664

Fox News continues:

It was not immediately clear why Mattis’ departure date was apparently moved up, but tension in the Defense Department and Washington generally has skyrocketed in the days since he suddenly announced his resignation. Shanahan is a former Boeing executive who joined the Pentagon in 2017.

Sources told Fox News this week that Mattis had quit “in protest” over the president’s national security policies and that more resignations could be coming. (In 2013, then-President Obama removed Mattis from his post running U.S. military’s Central Command, reportedly without calling to notify him of the decision.)

U.S. officials said this week that the Trump administration is making plans to pull all 2,000 troops out of Syria, and Trump later tweeted that “we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.”

Trump has stood by his Syria decision despite fierce blowback, telling detractors that the pullout should come as “no surprise” given his 2016 campaign promises and arguing that America’s role as “Policeman of the Middle East” is not worth the sacrifice.

Shanahan is a native of Washington state and has enjoyed a long career at Boeing before joining the Department of Defense.

Business Insider accumulated reports on Shanahan’s background and career:

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Shanahan said that his father had also instilled a creed of “service before self” in him and his younger brothers as they grew up.
Source: Senate Armed Services Committee

. . . . As deputy defense secretary, Shanahan kept a picture of his father hanging on the wall of his office, just over his father’s Bronze Star.
Source: The Department of Defense

. . . . In 1986, he embarked on a decades-long career at Boeing.
Source: US Department of Defense

There, he led projects like Boeing Missile Defense Systems and Boeing Rotorcraft System.
Susan Walsh/AP Images
Source: US Department of Defense

Over the years, he acquired a reputation as a sort of “Mr. Fix-It” within the company.
Source: The New York Times, Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times

According to The New York Times, Shanahan was widely credited with saving the company’s troubled 787 Dreamliner project in 2007.
Source: The New York Times

He rose to the rank of Boeing’s senior vice president of supply chain and operations.
Source: US Department of Defense

His political donations appear to have been fairly even-handed between the two major parties. Between 1990 and 2016, Shanahan donated $6,250 to Republican and conservative causes and politicians, and $5,000 to Democratic and liberal causes and politicians.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he donated nothing to Trump, Trump’s campaign committee, and other Trump allies.
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

. . . . During the proceedings, the late Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain accused Shanahan of dodging questions about supporting Ukraine in their conflict with Russia.
REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

McCain took issue with Shanahan’s lukewarm response to arming Ukraine.
Source: CNN, C-Span

But the Senate ultimately confirmed Shanahan in a 92-7 vote on July 18, 2017.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images
Source: CNN

Shanahan’s most recent tweet from his Deputy Secretary of Defense account:

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Comments

Good. The Secretary of Defense shouldn’t be another general anyway, but rather a civilian to provide some oversight.

President Trump must have been really peeved at Mattis, and his letter, and who knows what else, to move up the resignation

    I think it was the other way around, Mattis was thoroughly peeved with Trump. With good reason.

      What is the “good reason”?

      Was it because Trump refused to stay in the Paris Accords that Mattis favored?

      Was it because Trump refused to stay in the Iran deal that Mattis favored?

      Was it because Trump refused to keep troops in Syria that Mattis favored?

      One or all of those?

4th armored div | December 23, 2018 at 7:16 pm

to avoid mischief, it is better to remove causes quickly.

while Matisse might not intend to be a problem, his
remaining for an additional month would have kept the wagging tongues on the subject.

buckeyeminuteman | December 23, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Was refreshing to have a SecDef who actually had experience in the military. Not some career bureaucrat or political hack like the majority have been of late. SecOff Mad Dog Mattis was amazing, sad to see him go.

Reporter – What keeps you awake at night?
Mattis – I keep people awake at night.

The Left promptly lost their (censored) when this was announced, turning it into some sort of huge hissy fit by the president with a new guy rammed into the spot so Mattis could be thrown to the curb, etc, etc…

Sounds more like it would be a cleaner and less chaotic turnover if done at end of calendar year, so they went ahead and moved the date up.

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis wanted the USA to stay in the Paris accord. President Trump said no. Mattis wanted the USA to stay in the Iran deal. President Trump said no. Mattis wanted less pressure put on NATO. President Trump said no. Mattis wanted to keep American soldiers in Syria. President Trump said no. Mattis wanted to hang around until February… President Trump said no.

Yup! Like A Boss!

Trump and Mattis answering questions about each other for two more months on the daily news wouldn’t seem to advance Trump’s agenda.

I love the Gen/Sec like a brother, but Trump was elected. Mattis was hired. Trump asked Mattis to follow a number of policy directions and by press accounts he could not. It was time to go.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | December 24, 2018 at 10:05 am

According to reports, Mattis had been leaking to the press (this link is one example from April, but I remember reports speculating he was leaking back in 2017).
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/04/14/it-looks-like-defense-secretary-james-mattis-wants-the-record-to-show-he-urged-trump-to-be-cautious-with-syria-air-strikes/23411170/

People speculated Mattis may have written the much discussed anonymous Op-Ed that ran in the Washington Post about someone in the administration bragging about being part of the “resistance” who was plotting against Trump. Mattis denied he wrote it.

Bob Woodward reported in his book that Mattis said Trump had the intellect of a fifth grader. Mattis denied that, too.

It was gracious of Mattis to offer to stay until his replacement could be found and confirmed. But there is obvious tension between Trump and Mattis. Better to make a clean break.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Mattis, like Comey, cashes in making millions with a book deal. Or if he becomes a paid contributor on cable news. And if so, which cable channel.

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