Shanahan Stresses National Defense Strategy in First Meetings as Acting Secretary

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan will use the National Defense Strategy as his blueprint moving forward, Pentagon officials said.

Shanahan took over for James N. Mattis on Jan. 1.

The acting secretary had served as the deputy defense secretary since July 2017. Before that, he was a senior executive at the Boeing Co. As deputy secretary, Shanahan was intimately involved with the development of the National Defense Strategy and the administration’s South Asia strategy.

Shanahan stressed the National Defense Strategy’s importance during his first meeting with department officials. The department’s transition from a counterinsurgency strategy to one based on near-peer competition will continue, he said. Shanahan told defense officials to emphasize “China, China, China.”

Russia and China are near-peer competitors to the United States not only militarily, but politically, diplomatically and economically. The Chinese, particularly, see themselves as taking America’s place and instituting their own rules-based architecture that would only benefit China.

Rebuilding U.S. Capabilities

The National Defense Strategy announced last year is aimed at rebuilding U.S. military capabilities that were decimated by years of sequestration spending cuts, constant deployments and equipment overuse. It also is designed to foster the capabilities needed to maintain…

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