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Shanahan Gets Nod to Be Full Defense Secretary

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DoD
Friday, May 10, 2019

Patrick M. Shanahan, the acting defense secretary who for years was an industry executive working on Army helicopter programs, will be nominated to become the full-fledged 27th secretary of defense, the White House announced May 9.

“Based upon his outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead, President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to be the Secretary of Defense,” said a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Shanahan, the deputy secretary who has served as acting secretary since Jan. 1, said he was “honored” by the announcement, pledging he would remain committed to modernizing the services and to aggressively implementing President Donald Trump’s National Defense Strategy.

Undersecretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy has described Shanahan as one of the Defense Department’s “staunchest advocates” for the U.S. Army Futures Command and the Army’s modernization efforts. 

Retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, AUSA president and CEO, supports the nomination. “I’m pleased to see the president’s nomination of Mr. Shanahan to serve as secretary of defense. America’s armed forces need a Senate-confirmed secretary and Mr. Shanahan, both as deputy secretary of defense and as acting secretary of defense, has shown strong support for the Army and particularly for the Army’s critical modernization priorities,” he said.

Shanahan spoke in October at AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., saying AUSA had been an important part of his career as an industry executive. “I spent a number of years at AUSA,” he said, describing his visits to previous annual meetings of the association. “In terms of my own professional development, it was a really critical forum where I developed relationships early on that I draw upon today,” he said.

“I spent many years building the helicopters that so many of you have flown in Iraq and around the world,” he said. At Boeing, he was responsible for Army aviation programs including the AH-64 Apache and CH-47 Chinook.

While he never served in the military, his father, Michael Shanahan, served in the 18th Military Police Brigade during the Vietnam War. “I was raised in a family that prioritized service to country,” he said. “The only picture in my office is one of my father.”