As Tensions With Iran Escalate, Durbin Meets With Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today met with Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who President Donald Trump nominated to be Defense Secretary earlier this month.  During the meeting, Durbin pressed Acting Secretary Shanahan on the Trump Administration’s escalating tensions with Iran, continued military presence at the southwest border, and the reprogramming of $2.5 billion for President Trump’s border wall.

“The Secretary of Defense in the Trump Administration has a special responsibility to advise a President with no experience in national security and a limited grasp of the life-and-death decisions he must make,” Durbin said.  “With the strident voices of National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling for American military confrontation with Iran, the Secretary of Defense has a responsibility to counter their extreme views.  It remains to be seen whether Patrick Shanahan is up to that job.”

Shanahan was the Deputy Secretary for Defense before becoming Acting Secretary.  He comes from the private sector, spending more than 30 years at Boeing, and was most recently the senior vice president for Supply Chain & Operations.  Shanahan spent many years managing the Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Programs.  He is a native of Washington State and has Masters Degrees in mechanical engineering and business administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).