Sean Stackley, the current acting secretary, is widely respected in and around the Pentagon, but his non-permanent status will make him hesitant to make any big decisions that could hem in a permanent Trump selection, said Bryan Clark, a retired submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. As the Navy looks to grow it's going to need to make trade-offs about what the service is not going to buy anymore, and once a program is canceled or significantly altered, those decisions can be tough, if not impossible to reverse. "A holdover is just not going to be comfortable making big decisions on behalf of the new administration," Clark said. That's going to quickly be important, since the Navy is getting ready to roll out its 2018 budget and is already well into compiling its 2019 budget, Clark said.
Trump Wants to Grow the Navy, but He Doesn’t Have His Own Navy Secretary to Sell It
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