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Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia in 2003. Photo by Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images

New Pentagon leader Pat Shanahan says he is focusing on China

WASHINGTON — On his first day as acting defense secretary, Pat Shanahan is emphasizing that China should be the Pentagon’s main focus.

Aides say Shanahan, who’s leading the Pentagon after the departure of Jim Mattis, struck the China theme at a meeting Wednesday with the department’s top civilian leaders, including the heads of the military services.

The aides aren’t authorized to publicly discuss internal defense meetings and are speaking on condition of condition of anonymity.

One aide says Shanahan told the gathering that he’s focused on the strategy written and implemented under Mattis that focuses on Russia and China as “great power” competitors. In that context, Shanahan told the civilian leaders to remember, in his words, “China, China, China.”

Shanahan’s expected to attend a Cabinet meeting at the White House later Wednesday.

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