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Patrick M. Shanahan

Acting Secretary of Defense

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Patrick M. Shanahan became the Acting Secretary of Defense on January 1, 2019. Prior to this assignment, he served as the 33rd Deputy Secretary of Defense, appointed on July 19, 2017.

Since joining the Department of Defense, Mr. Shanahan helped lead the development of several key Department of Defense policies and strategies, to include the 2018 National Defense Strategy, 2018 Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, 2018 Cyber Posture Review, 2018 Nuclear Posture Review and 2019 Missile Defense Review.  He has been a champion of digital and technological advancement for the department, spearheading modernization in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and command, control and communication.  In June 2018, Mr. Shanahan established the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) and published the Department of Defense’s AI Strategy. The unclassified summary of this Strategy was released in Feb 2019 following President Trump’s Executive Order on AI (Maintaining American Leadership in AI).  Additionally, Mr. Shanahan launched two National Mission Initiatives: predictive maintenance and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.  

Mr. Shanahan previously served as Boeing senior vice president, Supply Chain & Operations. A Washington state native, Mr. Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986 and spent over three decades with the company. He previously worked as senior vice president of Commercial Airplane Programs, managing profit and loss for the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs and the operations at Boeing's principal manufacturing sites; as vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner, leading the program during a critical development period; as vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, overseeing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, Airborne Laser and Advanced Tactical Laser; and as vice president and general manager of Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, overseeing the Apache, Chinook and Osprey.

Mr. Shanahan is a Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Fellow and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow. He served as a regent at the University of Washington for over five years.

Mr. Shanahan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.