President Donald Trump plans to nominate long-time Boeing [BA] executive Patrick “Pat” Shanahan to be the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, the White House announced March 16.
If confirmed by the Senate, Shanahan will replace Deputy Defense Secretary Robert “Bob” Work, a holdover from the Obama administration.
Shanahan, who is currently based in Washington state, is Boeing’s senior vice president for supply chain and operations, overseeing the company’s manufacturing operations and supplier management.
He also has held Boeing leadership positions for: commercial airplanes, including the new 787 Dreamliner airliner; missile defense, including the long-range Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system and the now-canceled Airborne Laser; and rotorcraft, including the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter, the CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter and the Bell Helicopter Textron [TXT]-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Shanahan holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of business administration from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, praised the nomination, saying Shanahan “is a consummate operator who has played a key role in managing every commercial transport program Boeing currently offers. Putting him in charge of Boeing’s supply chain was recognition of how detail-oriented and demanding he is. [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis will be able to count on having a deputy who can manage his very complex organization, so that Mattis can do outreach to Congress and America’s allies.”
Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said that Shanahan’s 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry will serve him well in his new position.
“He has held leadership roles in general management, engineering, development and production programs, supply chain management, factory operations, and engineering,” Bickers said. “We fully expect his continued and strong leadership for the Defense Department as it seeks to adapt to a dynamic and challenging defense environment.”
The White House also announced five other senior Pentagon nominations. It said that Trump has picked David Norquist, former chief financial officer at the Department of Homeland Security, to be undersecretary of defense in the comptroller’s office. Elaine McCusker, director of resources and analysis for U.S. Central Command, would become Norquist’s principal deputy.
Trump also plans to nominate former Pentagon official David Joel Trachtenberg as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for Policy and former White House deputy homeland security adviser Kenneth Rapuano as assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Global security. Robert Daigle would become director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, returning to an office where he worked in the Bush administration.
Tom Karako, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he is particularly pleased with the appointments of Shanahan and Trachtenberg, both of whom are well-versed in missile defense and the challenges posed by the return of great-power competition. “It’s a good day for national security,” Karako said.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that all six nominees are “highly qualified individuals” who Mattis recommended to the White House.