Disaster Zone

Boeing Veteran Soon to Be Acting Secretary of Defense

I'm glad he is just 'acting.'

by Eric Holdeman / December 27, 2018

See information below from the Puget Sound Business Journal's reporting. He might be an accomplished aircraft industry businessman, but for leadership at the Defense Department we need someone who crosses several disciplines that include international relations with political leaders here in the United States and abroad. We also need someone who has credibility with the military chiefs of staff. He or she needs to listen to them, but the secretary also needs to know which end is up, and not be led down the primrose path because they lack experience in the military trade. That does not mean they need to be a former general officer, but having some military exposure to "operations" and what it means to send people into combat would be someone I want making decisions about my son's and daughter's futures.  

He might be totally committed to his job — he has been married three times. Perhaps a good fit for the president!!

By Greg Lamm and Andrew McIntosh — Puget Sound Business Journal

President Donald Trump's acting Secretary of Defense is Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who is well-known in the Puget Sound region's aerospace industry.

Trump named Shanahan to the acting Defense Department post after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday and criticized Trump's foreign policy. Trump announced in a tweet Sunday he was removing Mattis from his post by Jan. 1, two months before Mattis had planned to depart.

Shanahan was a senior vice president of supply chain and operations at Boeing, where he was responsible for oversight of manufacturing operations and supplier management functions, when Trump made the surprising move in March 2017 to tap Shanahan for the deputy secretary post at the Pentagon.

Shanahan is a well known figure in Seattle as a Boeing Commercial Airplanes veteran. In the Puget Sound region, he served as senior vice president of airplane programs and oversaw management of profits and losses for the Boeing 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner jet programs.

Shanahan's Deputy Defense Secretary appointment, which was later confirmed by the Senate, raises eyebrows because it came after Trump criticized Boeing for "out of control" costs on the Air Force One 747 replacement program, saying the effort should be cancelled.

Since that Twitter blast, however, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg cozied up to and even praised Trump for several initiatives and his focus on getting good prices for defense contracts.

During Shanahan's confirmation in July 2017, some senators expressed concern over Shanahan's potential conflicts of interest because of his ties to Boeing, a major defense contractor.

Seattle-area aerospace analysts said Shanahan knows the murky defense world well after working at Boeing's defense unit earlier in his career. That experience gives him a unique perspective to bring to President Donald Trump's administration, analysts said.

Shanahan has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington.

He also holds of two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a master of science in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

He has served as a University of Washington regent and participated in professional and charitable organizations, including the Washington Roundtable [a Washington state business organization]