(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – US President Donald Trump has forced Defence Secretary James Mattis to leave his post early, appointing an acting successor to take over in the new year.
Gen Mattis, 68, strongly hinted at policy differences with Mr Trump when he resigned on Friday.
He offered to stay in the job until February but will now leave on 1 January after Mr Trump reportedly balked at media coverage of his exit.
Deputy Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan, 56, will take over the role.
Mr Trump has lauded his achievements and described him as “very talented”.