Donald Trump has decided that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan should get the job on a more permanent basis.
Thus, he is nominating the former Boeing Co. executive to lead the world’s mightiest military apparatus.
Shanahan would seek to fill a huge void created by the resignation in late 2018 of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned over differences he had with the president’s defense policy.
OK, the critics are out already regarding Shanahan. They say that his lack of any defense experience does not commend him to this job.
I must say: Whoa! Wait a minute!
In 1961, another president, John F. Kennedy, named a Ford Inc., executive, Robert McNamara, to lead the Pentagon. McNamara had the same zero defense experience that Shanahan would bring to his new job.
Now, it’s a highly debatable point that McNamara did a good job as defense secretary. He did lie to the public about whether the nation was winning the Vietnam War in the 1960s. He kept the truth from us until the mid-1990s, when he wrote in a book that he knew as early as 1963 that Vietnam was essentially a lost cause.
His lack of experience, though, likely didn’t play a part in McNamara’s big-league deception.
Do I wish the president could find someone with the chops that James Mattis brought to the post? Sure. Then again, would another revered general-grade officer — such as Mattis — last any longer than the retired Marine did? Likely not.
Still, let’s not dismiss Patrick Shanahan just because he doesn’t have prior government experience.