Mattis leaving Pentagon sooner than planned; Shanahan tapped

National News

December 24, 2018 - 8:52 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The sooner-than-expected departure of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis shifts the focus to President Donald Trump’s appointment of an acting Pentagon chief and plans for a permanent replacement.

It also signals an acrimonious end to a tense relationship between Trump and Mattis that had eroded in recent months. A fracture developed last week over Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and worsened after Mattis’ public disagreement with Trump, aired in his resignation letter.

Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will take over as acting secretary on Jan. 1, Trump announced in a tweet Sunday. He had worked for more than three decades at Boeing Co. and was a senior vice president when he became Pentagon deputy in July 2017.

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