In the nine months since Jim Mattis resigned as defense secretary, one man has become the public leader of President Trump’s national security policy: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In the absence of a confirmed leader at the Pentagon, Pompeo had been unusually visible in public scenes — and decisions — typically associated with the secretary of defense.
And with President Trump’s unceremonious dismissal of National Security Advisor John Bolton, this week, some are comparing Pompeo’s outsized influence to Dick Cheney’s unusually powerful role running security policy as vice president for George W. Bush.
What’s still to be determined is how much power Mattis’s replacement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, will be able to wield in the administration — and how much independence and influence he may have in the Oval Office with this president, and Pompeo at his side.
Read the full story and more in Defense One.