WASHINGTON, the USA (BulgarianMilitary.com) — Yesterday, 20th December 2018, the U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announced that he will step down from that post by the end of February next year, learned BulgarianMilitary.com
In his resignation letter Mattis told Trump that he took the decision in order to allow the president to find “a secretary of defence whose views are better aligned with yours,” and added that he was “proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years in … putting the department on more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the department’s business practices.”
Mattis is a former Marine Corps general, who is highly regarded among defence experts and a well-respected military mind among lawmakers. Over the last two years, both Republicans and Democrats have praised him as a calming presence and a voice of reason within the Trump administration.
In addition, Mattis is also wildly popular among troops. According to a Military Times poll conducted in late September nearly 84 percent of troops and almost 90 percent of officers showed a favourable view of his work.
However, the relationship between Mattis and Trump had appeared to worsen in recent months due to the president insistence on more aggressive military policies.
Pentagon officials appeared caught unaware by the sudden decisions taken in the Oval Office on forming a new Space Force, sending troops to the southern U.S. border, and banning transgender recruits from the ranks. This week, Mattis and other top defence officials appeared to be again surprised by Trump’s plans for a rapid withdrawal of the United States forces from Syria.
Yesterday, however, Trump praised Mattis for “tremendous progress” on assisting to rebuild the military, including “the purchase of new fighting equipment” and “getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations.”
He also added that a new secretary of defence would be announced within the coming days. It is expected that Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Jack Keane, a retired Army general who was an early supporter for Trump, will be among the names that will be discussed as the future secretary of defence.
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Source: Military Times