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Trump picks Boeing executive for Mattis deputy as Pentagon gets budget boost

Trump picks Boeing executive for Mattis deputy as Pentagon gets budget boost
President Donald Trump has named six new senior officials at the Department of Defense, personally recommended by Secretary James Mattis. Among them is a Boeing executive who previously oversaw army aviation and missile defense programs.

If confirmed by the Senate, Patrick Shanahan will replace Robert Work as Deputy Secretary of Defense. He most recently managed supply chain and operations at Boeing and was credited with saving the troubled 787 Dreamliner program. He previously managed Boeing’s Missile Defense Systems and Rotorcraft Systems, the division responsible for military transport and combat helicopters such as the V-22 Osprey, the CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64D Apache.

David Joel Trachtenberg was named principal deputy undersecretary for policy, and Kenneth P. Rapuano as assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security, the White House announced on Thursday.

Trachtenberg is a former House Armed Services Committee staffer who most recently worked at the Pentagon as principal deputy assistant secretary for international security policy, while Rapuano is a retired Marine who served as White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor during George W. Bush’s second term.

Robert Daigle will be the director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) at the Department of Defense. He previously worked as a senior director at CAPE during the George W. Bush administration.

Experienced accountant David Norquist was appointed to the undersecretary post of comptroller. He was the first Senate-confirmed chief financial officer at the Department of Homeland Security and is credited with cleaning up the department’s finances.

Elaine McCusker will serve as Norquist’s principal deputy undersecretary. The former Senate Armed Services Committee staffer currently works at US Central Command in Florida, and previously worked at the US Navy headquarters and at the comptroller’s office at the Pentagon.

“These are all highly qualified individuals who were personally recommended by Secretary Mattis to the President,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.

The appointments appear directly related to Trump’s agenda of rebuilding the military, which allocated $639 billion to the Pentagon in the 2018 federal budget. However, Trump has also been vocal on his plans to get much more value for the dollar, pressuring Lockheed Martin to cut over $700 million from the latest batch of F-35 fighters and even threatening Boeing over the $4 billion price tag for the new Air Force One.

Though Trump’s tweets in December sent Boeing’s stock into a tailspin, the president quickly made up with the company, using the Charleston, South Carolina factory in February to deliver a speech in which he promised to “unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work.”

Mattis reportedly wanted former diplomat Anne Patterson to be his undersecretary for policy, but the White House and several senators vetoed the proposal, the Washington Post reported earlier this week.

Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) were opposed to Patterson because she served as ambassador to Egypt between 2011 and 2013 when the Obama administration backed the Muslim Brotherhood government.

Trump has not named the new secretaries for the Army and the Navy after his original picks withdrew from consideration. The Senate has yet to confirm the appointment of former Republican congresswoman Heather Wilson as Air Force secretary.