TAMPA — Minutes before the Acting Secretary of Defense withdrew Tuesday from his confirmation process, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at MacDill Air Force Base about the need to coordinate "diplomatic and defense efforts'' to address rising tensions with Iran.
Pompeo, who arrived in Tampa on Monday, met with Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. and Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commanders of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command respectively, to align the Government's efforts in the Middle East, according to Central Command.
The meeting focused on deterrence plans against Iran after U.S. officials blamed the country for two recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
"We are there to deter aggression," Pompeo said. "President [Donald] Trump does not want war."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that his country would not "wage war with any nation" but will stand against U.S. pressure.
Pompeo also addressed the decision by former Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to send 1,000 additional U.S. troops to the region for defense.
On Monday, a day before Shanahan stepped down from his Defense post citing personal reasons, Shanahan ordered the additional troops "to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests."
"We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats," he added in a statement.
On Tuesday, Trump named Army Secretary Mark Esper as the new Acting Secretary of Defense, replacing Shanahan about an hour after USA Today reported on a federal investigation into violence between Shanahan and his ex-wife.
At MacDill, Pompeo's message to families awaiting news about the new round of deployment was to thank them for their service and commitment to the country without going into further detail.
The Department of State declined to comment on how coordination with the Department of Defense will go in the wake of Shanahan's departure.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."
There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.
For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.
The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.