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Trump nominates Boeing VP for deputy Defense secretary

Trump nominates Boeing VP for deputy Defense secretary
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President Trump on Thursday nominated a top Boeing executive to be the second-highest-ranking civilian at the Pentagon.

Trump announced Patrick Shanahan’s nomination to be deputy Defense secretary, along with nominations for five other Pentagon roles, beginning to fill offices that have sat empty since his inauguration.

Shanahan has been Boeing’s senior vice president for supply chain and operations since April. In that role, he’s responsible for the company’s manufacturing operations and supplier management functions.

Prior to that, he was the senior vice president of airplane programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he oversaw the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs.

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He’s also been the vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, and before that, the vice president and general manager for Boeing Rotorcraft Systems in Philadelphia. In that role, he was responsible for U.S. Army Aviation programs and site activities in Philadelphia and Mesa, Ariz., where there are facilities for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter.

Shanahan will take over the deputy post from Bob Work, who served in the Obama administration and has stayed on in an interim role until his replacement could be put in place.

Trump was critical of Boeing during the transition, saying costs for the replacement Air Force One program — two new 747s — were “out of control.”

But Trump’s tune appeared to change after meetings with the CEO of Boeing, and Trump has claimed he’s cut costs on the Air Force One program.

Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered Work to conduct a review of the Air Force One program in January to identify potential savings. It’s unclear at what stage the review is in and whether Shanahan would need to recuse himself should the review be ongoing when he takes office.

Trump previously owned stock in Boeing. A spokesman said in December that he’d sold it but offered no proof. 

Trump on Thursday also nominated David Joel Trachtenberg to be principal deputy under secretary of Defense for policy.

Trachtenberg is the president and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting, a national security consultancy. He was formerly principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy and a staff member with the House Armed Services Committee.

The job of Trachtenberg’s potential boss, undersecretary of defense for policy, remains unfilled. The slot, the No. 3 position at the Pentagon, has reportedly been a point of conflict between the White House and Mattis, with the defense chief withdrawing his choice amid opposition from the administration and Republican senators.

Other nominations announced Thursday include:

– Robert Daigle as director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE). Daigle previously served in CAPE during the George W. Bush administration as Director of Program Resources and Information Systems Management Division. He’s currently a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee.

– Elaine McCusker as principal deputy under secretary of Defense, comptroller. McCusker is the director of resources and analysis at U.S. Central Command. Prior to that, she was a staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Department of Navy Headquarters and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller).

– David Norquist as under secretary of Defense, comptroller. He previously held the job from 2006 to 2008. Right now, Norquist is a partner at accounting firm Kearney and Company. He’s also been a staffer on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee and chief financial officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

– Kenneth P. Rapuano as assistant secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense and Global Security. Rapuano is currently serves as senior vice president and director of the Studies and Analysis Group at the ANSER Corporation. He was White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor from 2004 to 2006 and has served in roles with the departments of Energy and Defense.

- Updated at 12:16 p.m.