Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks to reporters during a meeting with Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez at the Pentagon on May 7, 2019. DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando.
The White House on Thursday announced President Donald Trump will nominate Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to take over the Pentagon permanently, a move long expected but delayed by a recently closed ethics inquiry.
Shanahan has been serving in the position in an acting role since Trump abruptly fired former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in December, shortly after Mattis announced his intention to resign. Shanahan has been the longest serving acting Secretary in Defense Department history.
“Based on his outstanding service to the country and his demonstration to lead,” Trump intends to nominate Shanahan, according to a White House statement. “Acting Secretary Shanahan has proven over the last several months that he is beyond qualified to lead the Department of Defense and he will continue to do an excellent job.”
In a statement, Shanahan said “honored” by the nomination. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy. 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 was previously a senior executive at Boeing, spending more than 30 years at the company including as a senior vice president. He served as the deputy defense secretary beginning in July 2017 until the end of Mattis’s tenure.
The nomination comes shortly after the Defense Department Inspector General cleared Shanahan of any wrongdoing after claims he violated an ethics agreement and supported Boeing inside the Pentagon.
“We determined that Mr. Shanahan fully complied with his ethics agreements and his ethical obligations regarding Boeing and its competitors,” the IG wrote in its report.
If confirmed, Shanahan will keep the ethics pledge to recuse himself from any matters related to Boeing.