Image Credits: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The world mourned when Secretary Jim Mattis announced he would be leaving the Department of Defense, but there’s no resting on our laurels, so it’s time to take a look at who is in line to be our next Secretary of Defense. Patrick Shanahan has been serving as “acting” Secretary of Defense since January 1, 2019, but he has now been officially nominated by Trump to fill the cabinet position  and will seek Senate confirmation in the coming weeks and months.

Let’s walk through what we know about Shanahan and what to expect during the confirmation process.

Before moving up to acting Sec. Def, Shanahan, 55, served as Mattis’ deputy, which means he learned from the best.  A heavy portion of Shanahan’s career was spent working for Boeing, which in most cases would be a boon, but in light of their recent troubles may actually hurt him more than it helps him.  Sure, he can’t possibly be held culpable for what is currently going on with Boeing, but his long-time connection will come into play, I’m sure.

For the record though,  he’s highly educated. According to the Department’s biography of him, “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.”

Shanahan, if confirmed, is expected to following Trump’s lead pretty well. He supports a border wall, thinks similarly on dealing with hostile nations, et cetera. Shanahan hasn’t yet faced what we would call a “true test” of the position. During his confirmation hearing he’ll likely be asked repeatedly how he will handle the border with Mexico, his response to crises in Iran and Venezuela, et cetera.

When asked about working for Trump, he said, ““What I like about working with the president is he’s a CEO…I’ve worked for CEOs. He’s focused on outcomes and results. Will we always agree on everything? No. Are we focused, do we have the same interests and the same focus? Yes.”

Because of that, and his ties to Boeing, you can bet that the Senate Democrats will put up their best fight. However, Republicans do still control the Senate, so the Democrats would need several defectors to sink the nomination.  Stay tuned for how his confirmation shakes out.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member