Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

New Pentagon chief discusses Syria with Pompeo, Bolton

New Pentagon chief discusses Syria with Pompeo, Bolton

Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, had been Mattis' deputy and it was unclear how long he will remain acting secretary.

Mattis submitted his resignation on December 20 after a series of policy disagreements with Trump, including the president's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

Mattis resigned after Trump's surprise decisions to withdraw all US troops from Syria and half of the 14,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan.

"I don't want to be in Syria", Trump said on Wednesday, while adding that "I never said we're getting out tomorrow".

According to USA officials, Trump is also mulling a 50 percent draw down in Afghanistan - another momentous move that has left lawmakers and worldwide allies fearing for what comes next.

The defense official said Shanahan would later Wednesday attend a cabinet meeting with Trump, the president's first of 2019. Both men have publicly criticized Trump's national security decisions and his temperament in recent weeks. Mattis and other Trump advisers tried unsuccessfully to persuade Trump to stay in Syria long enough to ensure that the Islamic State group, which has largely been defeated on the battlefield, can not regroup. This included naming David Norquist, the Pentagon's comptroller, to perform deputy defence secretary duties provisionally as well as retaining his current title.

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"And for us to come back, you know, the way we came back in that fashion I was like, 'You did, you did something special". It will be a battle for the fourth place in the Western Conference standings, now held by the Clippers.

Trump tweeted days later that Mattis would depart the administration at the beginning of the year, as opposed to his initial departure date of February 28, writing that he had given Mattis a "second chance" in government after he was "ingloriously fired" by former President Barack Obama.

Later on Wednesday, Shanahan sat next to Trump at a Cabinet meeting, in a sign of the president's confidence.

At a morning meeting at the Pentagon with the military service secretaries and other top civilian officials, Shanahan said he was focused on the defense strategy developed during Mattis' tenure.

One aide says Shanahan told the gathering that he's focused on the strategy written and implemented under Mattis that focuses on Russian Federation and China as "great power" competitors.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plumbed new depths under Trump, with a trade war and disagreements over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

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