New Pentagon chief discusses Syria with Pompeo, Bolton

Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan arrives for his first day in his new job at the Pentagon

Webb will be replacing James Mattis, who resigned from the post in December previous year, citing differences with Trump on major Defence policies, reports Sputnik. For instance, when Mattis was head of US Central Command, he advocated for the military to buy blood-testing products from Theranos, the board of directors of which he later became a member.

Trump has not specified a time frame for choosing a permanent defense secretary or said whether Shanahan could potentially assume that role.

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.

Acrimony between Trump and prominent former military leaders has spilled into the open in the wake of Mattis' resignation.

During a rambling monologue to White House journalists at the start of a cabinet meeting, Trump lashed out at his former defense secretary even as his replacement, Patrick Shanahan, sat at the president's side.

In fact, Mattis tendered his resignation in response to Trump's announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 USA troops deployed to Syria within the next several months.

"In 2019, the National Defense Strategy remains our guide".

"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, according to the official.

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Mattis quit last month after Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, even though the Islamic State still has thousands of fighters in the country and a USA pull out would leave Kurdish fighters vulnerable to attack by Turkey.

"He is one of the absolutely very best we have had as the chief financial officer and under comptroller, and the budget will be paramount in the next six weeks", Punaro said, adding that Norquist is "highly respected on the Hill and in the building".

The Times said Webb did not respond to a request for comment.

Shanahan, who had served as deputy to Mattis since July 2017, is a career business executive with no prior government or military experience.

Illustrative photo of an Israeli Air Force Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter, June 8, 2012.

Patrick Shanahan, the acting United States defence secretary, singled out China as a key priority in a "great power competition" on his first full day in his new role at the Pentagon on Wednesday, continuing a course set by his predecessor.

But some critics have questioned whether a man with deep industry ties should be running the Pentagon.

Shanahan has recused himself from participating in Boeing-related issues, a spokesman said.

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