Published: Wed, June 19, 2019

Rep. Mark Green Applauds Esper as Shanahan Replacement

Rep. Mark Green Applauds Esper as Shanahan Replacement

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration to head the Pentagon, President Donald Trump has said, announcing that the current Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will become the new acting secretary.

The abrupt announcement came in a tweet from the president, who said Shanahan had done "a wonderful job" but would step aside to "devote more time to his family".

When Defense Secretary James Mattis, a Washington state native, resigned at the end of 2018, Shanahan took over at the Pentagon in an acting capacity.

Earlier on Tuesday, US media reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been investigating a 2010 domestic fight between Shanahan and his then-wife.

In a written statement provided to USA Today on Monday night, Shanahan said "it is unfortunate that such a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way as a result of this nomination process".

"I can't tell you how long the process is supposed to work", Shanahan responded when asked why it is taking so long for his paperwork to be sent from the White House.

"I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family's life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal".

Shanahan's nomination has been bogged down in the congressional confirmation process.

Before joining the Trump White House, Mr Shanahan had worked as an executive at Boeing, the USA aerospace company which holds many U.S. defence department contracts.

"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 spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that was posted on Twitter May 9. "I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!"

"I'm not thrilled that the next acting defense secretary is a former Raytheon executive", said Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight.

Esper has served as Army secretary since 2017. He served more than 10 years on active duty, including in the 1990-1991 Gulf War and later served in the Virginia and the District of Columbia National Guard before transferring to the Reserves.

As Army secretary, Esper has focused on building combat readiness as the service has shifted its focus to prepare for major combat operations in the case of a war with a near-peer power competitor such as Russian Federation or China.

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