On Wednesday, the Ministry of Defense Inspectorate's Office said it had initiated an investigation into whether acting secretary Patrick Shanahan had used his position to improperly promote his former employer, Boeing.
The study comes after nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the watchdog office last week, claiming that Shanahan appeared to make statements about promoting Boeing and dull competitors like Lockheed Martin.
Spokesman spokesman Tom Crosson said in a statement that Shanahan welcomes the notification.
"The acting secretary Shanahan has always been obliged to maintain his ethical agreement filed with DoD," Crosson said. "This agreement ensures that all Boeing issues are handled by relevant Pentagon officials to eliminate any perceived or current interest issues with Boeing."
Shanahan, 56, came to Boeing in 1986 and spent more than 30 years there before Trump appointed him Deputy Minister of Defense in March 2017. Shanahan became acting defense secretary at the beginning of this year after James Matti's departure.
Shanahan signed an ethics agreement in June 2017, outlining the steps he would take to avoid "any actual or apparent conflict of interest" and said he would not participate in anything involving Boeing.
The complaint, which is based mainly on published reports, including one of Politico in January, said that Shanahan made comments that praised Boeing in public procurement meetings and raised concerns about "whether Shanahan deliberately or not The finger on the scale when it comes to Pentagon priorities. "An example stated by the complaint is the Pentagon's decision to request funding for Boeing 15EX fighters in the proposed 2020 budget. The Pentagon is asking for about $ 1 billion to buy eight of the plane.
While Boeing led the Shanahan company missile defense and military helicopter programs and credited with saving the eerie Dreamliner 787 program. Trump has apparently attracted Shanahan for his work on one of the President's pet projects – creating a Space Force.
He also praised Shanahan's former employer, Boeing, by many of the military's most prominent aircraft, including the Apache and the Chinook helicopters, the C-17 aircraft and the B-52 bomber, as well as the iconic Presidential Air Force One.
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The probe comes as Boeing struggles to handle a public storm over problems with its Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner. And it focuses on whether Trump will nominate Shanahan as his formal choice for Chief of Defense, instead of letting him throw as a acting head of a major federal body.
This is only the third time in history that the Pentagon has been led by a acting chief, and Shanahan has earned in this capacity for 85 days, longer than any of the others. Bill Clements served as acting defense secretary for 39 days in 1973, while William Howard Taft IV spent 66 days in the job in 1989.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.