Acting Defense chief recuses himself from matters involving Boeing

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will not be involved with any Pentagon matters dealing with Boeing, where the former deputy Defense secretary worked for 31 years, according to a Pentagon official. 

“Under his Ethics Agreement, Mr. Shanahan has recused himself for the duration of his service in the Department of Defense from participating in matters in which the Boeing Company is a party,” according to Shanahan spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino.

ADVERTISEMENT

The statement added that Shanahan’s priorities are continuing to “focus on implementation of the National Defense Strategy.”

President Trump in late December named Shanahan, then the deputy Defense secretary, as the acting Pentagon chief for the start of 2019 after Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned, largely over the president’s decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria. 

A former Boeing executive with less than two years of government experience, Shanahan was confirmed as the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian in July 2017.

Shanahan’s 31-year career at Boeing included overseeing its rotorcraft program, which supplied the U.S. military with Apache and Chinook helicopters, and helping build the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

He also led Boeing’s missile defense program starting in 2004, going on to oversee Boeing’s commercial airplane programs, and eventually serving as senior vice president for supply chain and operations before leaving for the Pentagon. 

During the confirmation process for deputy secretary, Shanahan pledged to “not participate personally and substantially” in matters involving Boeing if confirmed.

But news reports have surfaced in the past month that question whether Shanahan has kept himself out of Boeing matters completely. 

Bloomberg reported in December that a Pentagon plan to request $1.2 billion for 12 Boeing F-15X fighter jets included some “prodding” from Shanahan.