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Pentagon facing possibility of third acting defense secretary in less than a month

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With military tensions rising in the Middle East, more than a dozen of the most senior roles at the Pentagon lack permanent appointees and President Donald Trump is likely to be forced to name, at least temporarily, a third acting defense secretary in the coming weeks.


The Department of Defense is struggling to establish an unprecedented transition plan aimed at ensuring continuity of leadership at the highest levels while there is still no confirmed secretary of defense.


It is now increasingly likely Navy Secretary Richard Spencer will be named acting defense secretary for a brief period when Mark Esper, who is currently in the acting position following the dramatic implosion of Patrick Shanahan's nomination, is formally nominated for the permanent role. There are already plans to give Spencer highly classified briefings and secure communications to carry out the job.


The turmoil has only been heightened by the fact more than a dozen of the most senior and critical jobs at the Pentagon are filled by temporary officials.



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