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or become Trump's yes-man?In the days after he resigned as secretary of defense in December, Jim Mattis told people he hoped to be succeeded by Patrick Shanahan, his deputy. Shanahan has remained in limbo since the beginning of the year as acting secretary, perhaps trying to convince President Donald Trump's critics that he will be independent, the way Mattis was, while simultaneously reassuring the White House that he won't.Trump appears almost ready to name Shanahan permanently. Shanahan has never served in the military, has been in government just 19 months and, despite 31 years as a successful engineer at Boeing, was never chief executive there or anywhere else.Readiness rates like that would be inconceivable at Boeing or a commercial airline, so Shanahan demanded change.Shanahan pressed Chief Management Officer John H. Gibson, the Pentagon's No. 3 official, to combine or eliminate regulations for procurement, performance and financial operations. Gibson didn't deliver what Shanahan wanted, and he was forced to resign in November.If Shanahan is seen as Trump's yes-man, he loses his clout.
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