Paul McHale

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Paul McHale
Paul McHale briefing2.jpg
McHale briefing at The Pentagon during the October 2007 California wildfires
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense
In office
February 7, 2003 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Paul N. Stockton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Donald L. Ritter
Succeeded by Pat Toomey
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 133rd district
In office
1983 – February 25, 1991[1]
Preceded by George Kanuck
Succeeded by Katherine McHale
Personal details
Born Paul Francis McHale Jr.
(1950-07-26) July 26, 1950 (age 67)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Martha Rainville

Paul Francis McHale Jr. (born July 26, 1950) is an American politician. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense. Additionally, from 1993 to 1999, he represented Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. In 1992, McHale defeated former U.S. Congressman Donald L. Ritter for his seat representing the Lehigh Valley in the U.S. Congress. Currently, McHale is the President of Civil Support International LLC, which is a consulting firm that advises private contractors and government agencies in matters related to disaster preparedness, crisis response, and homeland defense and security.

Education and military service[edit]

Paul F. McHale's congressional photo

McHale was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he graduated from Liberty High School.

McHale received a Bachelor of Arts from Lehigh University in 1972 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1972 to 1974. He has been a member of the Marine Corps Reserve since 1974, and retired with the rank of colonel in 2007. He served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the Gulf War. McHale also served combat tours in Saudi Arabia (1990), Kuwait (1991), and Afghanistan (2007). His personal military decorations include the Baryal Medal for his service in Afghanistan, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal (2nd award).

In October 2006, McHale was recalled to active Marine Corps duty to deploy to Afghanistan.[2] For McHale's service as both a Congressman and Assistant Secretary of Defense, McHale was awarded the DoD Distinguished Public Service Medal – the department's highest civilian honor – by each of the past three Secretaries of Defense.


McHale was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1983 to 1991, resigning in order to volunteer for active duty in the Gulf War. In 1992, he ran for Congress and defeated 14-year incumbent Don Ritter in a major upset, with the support of significant numbers of Democratic, Republican and Independent voters in the Lehigh Valley.

While serving in Congress, McHale was an active member of the House Armed Services Committee and he co-founded the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus.

McHale gained prominence in 1998 when he called for Bill Clinton to resign. He voted for three of the four articles of impeachment against Clinton. He was one of only five Democrats who voted for at least one article, and had by far the most liberal voting record of those who supported impeachment. The other four Democrats who voted for at least one article were Virgil Goode, Ralph Hall, Charlie Stenholm, and Gene Taylor, all of whom had very conservative voting records. Goode, Hall and Taylor subsequently became Republicans.

Legal career[edit]

McHale began representing Panda Energy International in 1999, after the completion of his term in the U.S. House of Representatives, during Panda's legal and public relations battles which took place in his former Congressional district.[3][4]

Assistant Secretary of Defense[edit]

He assumed his former position as the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ASD) for Homeland Defense (HD), later to become Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs (HD&ASA), on February 7, 2003. He left in January 2009 at the end of the George W. Bush administration. The first to hold this position, Mr. McHale supervised all homeland defense activities for the U.S. Department of Defense and represented the Department of Defense at the highest levels of U.S. domestic crisis planning. Additionally, as the ASD(HD&ASA), he was responsible for DoD Critical Infrastructure Protection, civilian oversight of the two combatant commands in North America and South America, Western Hemisphere affairs, and the transfer of technologies to homeland security use pursuant to Section 1401 of the 2003 National Defense Authorization Act.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Martha Rainville, the first woman in the history of the U.S. National Guard to serve as a state Adjutant General and a former congressional candidate from Vermont.[5] He has three children from a previous marriage to Katherine Pecka McHale.[6]

See also[edit]

Media related to Paul McHale at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Cox, Harold (November 3, 2004). "Pennsylvania House of Representatives - 1991-1992" (PDF). Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 
  2. ^ AP article, (October 13, 2006)
  3. ^ Morning Call Article, (February 25, 2000)
  4. ^ Morning Call Article, (February 03, 2002)
  5. ^ Express-Times article, (January 12, 2009)
  6. ^ Morning Call article, June 5, 1991

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Donald L. Ritter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
Patrick J. Toomey