Pen­tagon is with­out a chief as US faces many global threats

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - WEATHER -

WASH­ING­TON >> It’s a dif­fi­cult time for the Pen­tagon to be with­out a per­ma­nent U.S. de­fense sec­re­tary.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is grap­pling with an es­ca­lat­ing cri­sis with Iran, an un­usual and con­tro­ver­sial de­ploy­ment of troops to the U.S.-Mex­i­can bor­der, the nearly two-decade-old war in Afghanista­n and stalled talks with North Korea on nu­clear weapons.

Amid all that, and more, act­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Pa­trick Shana­han stepped down this week and the man tapped to re­place him on an in­terim ba­sis ap­pears to face le­gal hur­dles that ini­tially could pre­vent him from serv­ing more than about six more weeks. It’s an un­usual level of un­cer­tainty for one of the most im­por­tant jobs.

“This is a very dif­fi­cult time. With ev­ery­thing go­ing on in Iran and all the provo­ca­tions and coun­ter­ac­tions, and to have no Sec­re­tary of De­fense at this time is ap­palling,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

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