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Eric Chewning, an Army veteran,​ replaces retired Navy Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, who stepped down from his post shortly after Patrick Shanahan became the acting secretary on Jan. 1. Army photo by Sgt. Alicia Brand.

Eric Chewning, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, has been named Chief of Staff to the Defense Secretary, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

Chewning replaces retired Navy Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, who stepped down from his post shortly after Patrick Shanahan became the acting secretary on Jan. 1. 

Chewning enlisted in the Army following 9/11 and was later commissioned as an intelligence officer. He earned a Bronze Star, the Humanitarian Service Medal, and the Army Combat Action Badge before leaving the Army and joining management consultant McKinsey & Co. He returned to the Pentagon in October 2017.  

President Trump has not yet nominated a permanent replacement for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned in December, and has indicated on Twitter he is in no rush.

One name that may be in the mix: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. Just before Christmas Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, floated Wilson ’s name in a tweet, suggesting she “would make a great Secretary of Defense and make our country proud.” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) seconded the Dec. 23 tweet: “Wilson embodies the core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.”