Patrick M. Shanahan

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Patrick M. Shanahan
Patrick Shanahan.jpg
Acting United States Secretary of Defense
In office
January 1, 2019 – June 23, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyDavid Norquist (acting)
Preceded byJim Mattis
Succeeded byMark Esper (acting)
33rd United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
In office
July 19, 2017 – January 1, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byRobert O. Work
Succeeded byDavid Norquist
Personal details
Patrick Michael Shanahan

(1962-06-27) June 27, 1962 (age 59)
Palo Alto, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Washington (BS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS, MBA)

Patrick Michael Shanahan (born June 27, 1962) is a former United States federal government official who served as acting U.S. Secretary of Defense in 2019. President Donald Trump appointed Shanahan to the role after the resignation of Retired General James N. Mattis. Shanahan served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2019.[1] He previously spent 30 years at Boeing in a variety of roles.[2]

The White House announced on May 9, 2019, that Trump intended to nominate Shanahan as the Secretary of Defense.[3][4] That decision was reversed on June 18, 2019, when Shanahan said that he was withdrawing,[5] and Trump announced that he would be making Mark Esper the acting U.S. Secretary of Defense.[6] Shanahan's last day in that position was June 24, 2019.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Shanahan was born on June 27, 1962 in Palo Alto, California,[8][9] the son of Jo-Anne Genevieve (née David) and Michael George Shanahan.[10] His father's original surname was "Rockholtz," and "Shanahan" is the surname of Patrick's step-grandfather.[11][12] He grew up in Seattle, Washington, where he graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School in 1980.[13][14] He attended the University of Washington where he earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in mechanical engineering. He then earned a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the MIT Sloan School of Management.[15][16]

Career at Boeing (1986–2017)[edit]

Shanahan with John Kerry

Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, becoming involved in Computer Services and the Boeing 777 program.[2] Over the course of his career, he held management roles with respect to the Boeing Missile Defense Systems, as well as 737, 747, 767, 777, and 787 commercial airline programs.[16] He also played a role spearheading the recovery of Boeing's 787 program,[17] and was known there as "Mr. Fix-it" from as early as 2008.[18]

Shanahan served Boeing Commercial Airplanes as vice president and general manager of the Boeing 757 program, with responsibility for the design, production, and profitability of the 757 family of planes.[2] He also held leadership positions on the Boeing 767 program and in the fabrication division.[19]

Shanahan then served as vice president and general manager for Boeing Rotorcraft Systems in Philadelphia.[20] He was responsible for all U.S. Army Aviation programs and site activities in Philadelphia and Mesa, Arizona.[2] Programs at these facilities included the V-22 Osprey, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64D Apache.[20]

Shanahan served as vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, starting in December 2004 overseeing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, Airborne Laser and Advanced Tactical Laser programs.[16][2] He served as vice president and general manager of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program, where he led the program during a period of the aircraft's development from 2007 to 2008.[2] He next served as senior vice president of Airplane Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, beginning in December 2008.[21]

In April 2016, he became senior vice president, Supply Chain & Operations, for Boeing.[21] His responsibilities in that position included manufacturing operations and supplier management functions,[20] carrying out advanced manufacturing technologies, and global supply chain strategies.[22]

Shanahan was a member of the Boeing Executive Council.[23]

United States Department of Defense (2017–2019)[edit]

Deputy Secretary of Defense[edit]

On March 16, 2017, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Shanahan as the 33rd Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon's second-highest civilian position.[24] Trump nominated Shanahan to lead plans to increase the size of the military.[25]

Shanahan's Senate confirmation hearing took place on June 20, 2017. During the hearing, Senator John McCain, a proponent of providing arms to Ukraine, threatened to block Shanahan's nomination over his response in a written statement about whether or not the U.S. should provide such weapons to Ukraine. Shanahan said he did not have access to classified military information in order to make a decision on the matter.[26][27]

Robert O. Work, the Deputy Secretary of Defense at the end of the Obama administration, remained in the position until Shanahan's confirmation.[28] Shanahan was confirmed by the United States Senate with a vote of 92–7 on July 18, 2017,[29][30] and became the 33rd Deputy Secretary of Defense on July 19, 2017.[16]

Acting Secretary of Defense[edit]

Shanahan in Afghanistan, February 11, 2019

President Trump initially announced that Shanahan would be elevated on February 28, 2019 to Acting Defense Secretary, when the Jim Mattis resignation was originally to become effective. But a follow-up Trump Twitter announcement on December 23, 2018 stated that Shanahan would be elevated two months prior to the resignation date announced by Mattis. Trump accelerated Mattis's departure date after reportedly becoming angered by the media coverage of his resignation letter,[31][32][33] due to language in Mattis’ resignation letter which criticized Trump's worldview.[1][34] Shanahan assumed the office on January 1, 2019.[35]

Shanahan made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on February 11, 2019 meeting with President Ashraf Ghani, the country's chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, and defense minister Asadullah Khalid during the first few hours of his trip.[36]

Shanahan visited the US–Mexico Border on February 23, 2019 with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USMC General Joseph Dunford and Commander of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite for joint assessments with Border Patrol, DHS, and others.[37]

In late March 2019, news sources reported that Shanahan was under investigation by Office of Inspector General because of allegations he improperly advocated on behalf of his former employer, Boeing Co.[38]

In a May 2019 internal memo, Shanahan ordered new restrictions on how information about global operational plans and orders are shared with Congress, such that summaries are provided rather than an actual plan or order that was requested.[39]

On May 9, 2019, the White House announced that President Trump would nominate Shanahan as his second defense secretary, despite skepticism and even hostility from lawmakers and officials within the Department of Defense.[7] However, Shanahan withdrew from the confirmation process in June, following increased public scrutiny of several incidents and allegations of domestic violence involving Shanahan's ex-wife and son.[5] In a tweet addressing the withdrawal of the nomination, President Trump said that Shanahan intended to "devote more time to his family."[40]

Career 2019-present[edit]

In September 2021, Zanite Acquisition Corp. announces appointment of Shanahan to its Board of Directors.[41]

Awards and memberships[edit]

Current positions

Former positions



  1. ^ a b Cooper, Helene; Rogers, Katie (December 23, 2018). "Trump, Angry Over Mattis's Rebuke, Removes Him 2 Months Early". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Boeing: Patrick (Pat) Shanahan". Boeing. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Sanders, Sarah (May 9, 2019). "President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan as Secretary of". @PressSec. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  4. ^ "Breaking tradition Trump plans to nominate an ex Pentagon supplier as defense secretary". MercoPress. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Davis, Aaron C.; Boburg, Shawn (June 18, 2019). "As Trump's defense pick withdraws, he addresses violent domestic incidents". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  6. ^ @realDonaldTrump (June 18, 2019). "....I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b Cooper, Helene; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (May 9, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Patrick Shanahan as Pentagon Chief". New York Times. Retrieved May 28, 2019 – via
  8. ^ Laviola, Erin (December 23, 2018). "Patrick Shanahan: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy, Inc. Retrieved December 27, 2018. Patrick Shanahan is 56 years old. (His birthday is June 27, 1962).
  9. ^ "Patrick M. Shanahan > Historical Office > Article View". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Who's who in the West. Marquis-Who's Who. June 24, 1999. ISBN 9780837909240. Retrieved June 24, 2019 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Cain, Áine (December 23, 2018). "Meet Patrick Shanahan, the former Boeing executive nicknamed 'Mr. Fix-It' who's replacing General James Mattis as Defense secretary". Business Insider. Retrieved June 24, 2019 – via
  12. ^ "Michael Shanahan Obituary = Seattle, WA". March 21, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  13. ^ MYNorthwest Staff (March 16, 2017). "Boeing senior VP, Seattle native nominated for role at Pentagon". Bonneville International. Retrieved January 2, 2019. Shanahan is a Seattle native who graduated from Bishop Blanchet High School and the University of Washington.
  14. ^ "A Brave Future Capital Campaign". Bishop Blanchet High School. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Gates, Dominic; Brunner, Jim (March 17, 2017). "Trump taps Boeing executive Pat Shanahan for deputy secretary of defense". The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington: The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d "Patrick Shanahan > U.S. Department of Defense > Biography". United States Department of Defense. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Wilhelm, Steve (March 11, 2016). "Two Puget Sound Boeing veterans who helped get 787 back on track promoted". Puget Sound Business Journal. Seattle, Washington: American City Business Journals. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  18. ^ Pae, Peter (February 24, 2008). "Boeing uses him as its heavy hitter". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  19. ^ Gates, Dominic (October 17, 2007). "787 visionary out; new chief must make it fly". The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington: The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  20. ^ a b c Kheel, Rebecca (March 3, 2017). "Trump nominates Boeing VP for deputy Defense secretary". The Hill. Washington DC: News Communications, Inc. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d "Executive Profile | Patrick M. Shanahan". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  22. ^ a b c "Patrick (Pat) Shanahan | Board of Regents". University of Washington. University of Washington Board of Regents. Archived from the original on May 31, 2017. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  23. ^ "White House picks Boeing executive as Pentagon's No. 2". The Seattle Times. March 16, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c Boyle, Alan (March 16, 2017). "Boeing exec Pat Shanahan chosen to become deputy defense secretary". GeekWire. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  25. ^ Drew, Christopher (April 1, 2017). "A Pentagon Test for Boeing's Mr. Fix-It". The New York Times. New York City. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  26. ^ Herb, Jeremy (June 20, 2017). "McCain threatens to block Trump's Pentagon nominee". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  27. ^ Kheel, Rebecca (June 20, 2017). "McCain threatens to block Trump's deputy Defense nominee". The Hill. Washington DC: News Communications, Inc. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  28. ^ Eckstein, Megan (March 16, 2017). "Trump Nominates Boeing Exec Patrick Shanahan For Deputy Defense Secretary". USNI News. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  29. ^ Carlson, Stephen (July 18, 2017). "Former Boeing VP Shanahan confirmed as deputy secretary of defense". UPI. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  30. ^ Herb, Jeremy (July 18, 2017). "Senate confirms the Pentagon's new No. 2". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting System Inc. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  31. ^ King, Laura; Cloud, David S. (December 23, 2018). "Angered by Mattis' rebuke, Trump forces him out by Jan. 1, two months early". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  32. ^ Cooper, Helene; Rogers, Katie (December 23, 2018). "Trump, Angry Over Mattis's Rebuke, Removes Him 2 Months Early". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  33. ^ Rucker, Philip; Lamothe, Dan; Dawsey, Josh (December 23, 2018). "Trump forces Mattis out two months early, names Shanahan acting defense secretary". The Washington Post. Washington, DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  34. ^ Schmidle, Nicholas (December 26, 2018). "How Patrick Shanahan, the New Acting Secretary of Defense, Won Over the White House". The New Yorker. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  35. ^ "Department of Defense Key Officials September 1947–February 2019" (PDF). Historical Office Office of the Secretary of Defense. January 30, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  36. ^ Gray, Noah; Berlinger, Joshua (February 11, 2019). "Acting US defense secretary makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
  37. ^ Robert Burns, AP national security writer (February 23, 2019). "Pentagon chief: Broader approach to border security needed". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on February 25, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  38. ^ "Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan Investigated Over Ties To Boeing". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  39. ^ Ryan, Missy; Jaffe, Greg (May 22, 2019). "Internal memo orders military to restrict information it shares with Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2019 – via
  40. ^ Shear, Michael D.; Cooper, Helene (June 18, 2019). "Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  41. ^ "Zanite Acquisition Corp. Announces Appointment of Patrick M. Shanahan to its Board of Directors". September 15, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  42. ^ "SME College of Fellows" (PDF). Society of Manufacturing Engineers. August 7, 2018. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  43. ^ "All Regents: 1861–Present". University of Washington Board of Regents. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  44. ^ "2019 Honorees | UW College of Engineering". Archived from the original on March 30, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
Succeeded by
Preceded by United States Secretary of Defense

Succeeded by