Meet Trump’s acting Pentagon chief

By | December 23, 2018

Politico reports:

[Former Boeing executive, Patrick] Shanahan, who has been the Pentagon’s No. 2 for 18 months [and will become acting defense secretary on Jan 1], is little known outside the halls of the national security community — and even there his views are not well understood.

A mechanical engineer by training with scant policy background, the public record of his positions is slim compared to Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general.

“Imagine if we drew a Venn diagram of Secretary Mattis and his skills and background and history and overlaid mine with it,” Shanahan told an defense industry group earlier this year. “At the very edge they would touch, and it’s because we’re both from Washington state.” [Continue reading…]

Lara Seligman writes:

Shanahan’s ascent is just the latest manifestation of the growing influence the world’s largest aerospace company has in Trump’s Pentagon. In the last six months, Boeing has won three multibillion-dollar competitions for major Department of Defense aircraft programs, despite massive delays in delivering a new tanker fleet to the U.S. Air Force.

Now, senior Pentagon leaders are forcing the Air Force to purchase a new version of Boeing’s legacy F-15 fighter, a non-stealth jet that first flew in 1972, which will compete for the Air Force’s limited resources with Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 fighter jet.

The reportedly $1.2 billion proposal to buy the a dozen new variants of the “F-15X,” the same version of the aircraft Boeing is building for Qatar, reflects Boeing’s outsize influence with senior leaders in the Trump administration, a phenomenon that dates back to the beginning of the president’s term. As early as February 2017, Trump floated buying additional Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, instead of the F-35. The U.S. Navy placed an order for over 100 new Super Hornets this spring.

Trump also has a personal relationship with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. [Continue reading…]

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