first published on January 7, 2019 by Josh
After the resignation of Jim Mattis, who was set to leave the office of Secretary of Defense on February 28, 2018, Patrick M. Shanahan was set to serve as the Secretary of Defense. On December 23, 2018, President Trump made the decision to remove Mattis from the office early in order to have Patrick M. Shanahan take his place early on January 1, 2019. Shanahan’s take-over of the office was not well received on social media platforms like Facebook, where users took to reminding Shanahan that he was not their real dad. Political controversies, drama, and memes aside however, it is important to take a look at the individual filling the role of American Secretary of Defense and know what his qualifications for the role are.
Patrick M. Shanahan, a native of Seattle, Washington, graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School in 1980. Post High School he attended he attended the University of Washington where he earned a bachelor degree of science in mechanical engineering. Following this, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he earned a masters degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
In 1986, he joined Boeing and worked in Computer Services and the Boeing 777 program. Throughout his time there, he held positions in management roles with respect to the Boeing Missile Defense Systems, as well as 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787 commercial airline programs. Throughout his tenure at Boeing, he was often known as “Mr. Fix-it,” due to his abilities to step into failing programs and recover them. Throughout his many executive roles at Boeing, he worked intensely with the United States Military helping develop programs such as the V-22 Osprey, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64D Apache.
On March 16, 2017 President Donald Trump announced that he was selecting Shanahan to become the 33rd Deputy Secretary of Defense in order to lead plans that would increase the size of the United States Military. His confirmation hearing took place on June 20, 2017 where Senator John McCain threatened to block his confirmation over Shanahan’s stance against providing arms and training to the Ukrainian military in their fight against Russian Separatists. Shanahan responded in the negative because he was not given access to classified military documentation that would sway him otherwise. He was confirmed as the 33rd Deputy Secretary of Defense with a vote of 92–7 on July 18, 2017.
While Shanahan’s role as Secretary of Defense is currently temporary, it remains to be seen who will make a suitable replacement for Jim Mattis. According to the Trump Administration, they are seeking out an active Secretary of Defense from outside of the Trump Administration, and are hoping to fill the role soon with a permanent replacement. For the time being, Patrick M. Shanahan will fill the role of Secretary of Defense. He and Jim Mattis both made statements to the Pentagon requesting that all Pentagon personnel focus on their missions of defending the nation first.
Video Credit: DoD News and Senior Airman Andrew Carroll – Topic: Deputy Secretary of Defense Outlines New National Defense Strategy – January 2018.