Foreign Policy Digital

The Pentagon’s Empty Throne

Patrick Shanahan, America’s longest-serving acting defense secretary, faces an increasingly hostile Senate.

A good number of people in the defense community thought this would be the week that Patrick Shanahan finally escaped the dubious distinction of being America’s longest-running acting secretary of defense. It was expected that President Donald Trump would officially nominate Shanahan to replace James Mattis as Pentagon chief on Friday.

Didn’t happen. Even though there was a meeting at the Pentagon on Friday that featured the administration’s national security heavyweights—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, as well as Shanahan and the president himself—more than two months after Mattis’s last day, his formal successor remains a mystery.

And Shanahan, still unanointed though Trump’s clear favorite after multiple contenders the job, is facing tougher questions than ever on Capitol Hill after a brutal day of testimony that presaged the confirmation hearing he’d likely

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