The United States confronts the most dangerous and dynamic array of threats that we have seen in our lifetimes, yet our armed forces lack a confirmed secretary of the Defense Department. The American people, including our men and women in uniform, deserve better.
Although the president has extraordinarily capable people serving the country in acting capacities in a number of departments and agencies, including Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the United States must have a confirmed defense secretary without delay. Perception is a significant part of effectiveness in office, and being formally confirmed by the Senate for a permanent appointment gathers legitimacy, authority, and gravitas. The president should nominate a defense secretary without delay. Two months is far too long. Our country needs swift action now.
James Jay Carafano is the vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation. Roger Zakheim is the Washington director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. Bradley Bowman is the senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.