Pentagon's top financial officer to take over No. 2 post at department

David Norquist, the Pentagon’s top financial officer, will take over as acting deputy Defense secretary, moving into the spot vacated by Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanThe Mueller report is a deterrent to government service Former UN ambassador: Trump 'should be patient' with North Korea US downplays North Korea's saber rattling MORE, who will become the acting Defense secretary.

Norquist, the department’s chief financial officer and comptroller since May 2017, will take on Shanahan’s former duties for the time being, a defense official told reporters in an impromptu meeting on Wednesday at the Pentagon.

“David Norquist has had insight into virtually every tenet of this department. I have the greatest confidence in his abilities to lead a phenomenally talented team while performing the duties as Deputy Secretary of Defense,” Shanahan said in a statement.

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Norquist has had a long government career, serving as a federal civil servant for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command in the 1990s before becoming a staffer on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee for six years.

He then worked in the Pentagon’s comptroller office between 2002 and 2006, before then-President George W. Bush tapped him to be the Department of Homeland Security’s first chief financial officer. 

Norquist most recently led the Pentagon’s first audit, completed in November.

He takes on the new role of acting deputy Defense secretary following President Trump’s decision in late December to name former Boeing executive Shanahan as the acting Pentagon chief for the start of 2019. 

Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned in December largely over the president’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, was meant to stay on until the end of February but was forced out early by Trump.