Key senator urges White House to fill top Pentagon post

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of a key Senate committee is urging the White House to quickly nominate someone to lead the Pentagon.

Sen. James Inhofe said Tuesday that if the White House nominates Patrick Shanahan, who has been the acting secretary of defense since Jan. 1, he would welcome a “thorough but expeditious” investigation by the Defense Department inspector general of what Inhofe called “any outstanding issues.” That seemed to be a reference to a recently announced investigation of alleged Shanahan bias in favor of his former employer, Boeing Co.

Inhofe is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over nominations to Pentagon positions.

Shanahan became acting secretary after Jim Mattis resigned in December. He is only the third person in history to serve as interim secretary.

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