15 highlights from Patrick Shanahan’s six months as acting US SecDef

Patrick Shanahan served as acting US Secretary of Defense from January 1, 2019. On June 18 US President Donald Trump announced he would not continue seeking confirmation.

Shanahan had served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2017 to 2019. He was supposed to become acting Defense Secretary on February 28 after James Mattis resigned following Trump’s decision to leave Syria. Instead Mattis left earlier. Shanahan had worked at Boeing from 1986 to 2017.

The follow is taken from Shanahan’s twitter account.

January 1: Taking over

The letter when he took over, not particularly interesting.

January 3: “priority is ensuring DOD remains lethal & agile.”

January 11: “Meeting with Joint Chiefs of Staff, “remains a lethal, agile and modern force.”

January 16 Manbij attack


January 17: “Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya” in town, meeting and bolstering alliance.

January 29: NATO meeting with Stoltenberg: “importance of the most successful and most powerful military alliance in human history.”

February 6: Global Coalition to defeat ISIS meeting

February 11: Meeting UK Defense Minister “forward to discussing with Gavin Williamson this vision, our strong UK-US relationship.”

February 12 Afghanistan trip


February 13: More talks with NATO

February 16: Meeting with Georgia “Meeting yesterday with Georgia Prime Minister Bakhtadze and Defense Minister Izoria, I recognized Georgia’s sacrifices and service as the top per capita force contributor to Afghanistan operation.”

February 17: “sharing insights from Afghanistan, Iraq, NATO, D-ISIS ministerial & Munich Security Conference.”

February 20 Space force 

“Space Force as the 6th branch of the Armed Forces.”

February 22: Belgians are in town “Hosted Belgian Defense Minister Didier Reynders during his first visit to the Pentagon yesterday”

February 23: Turkey meeting 

“Honored to meet w/ Turkish MinDef Akar, Ambassador Kilic and Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces Gen. Guler this afternoon at the Pentagon. I am confident our discussions today will strengthen U.S.-Turkey relations for the future.”

February 23 on the border


March 1: More Space force

March 3: South Korea ROK MinDef Jeong Kyeong-doo discussion

March 7: “Engaged with Defense Minister from North Macedonia Radmila Shekerinska today at the Pentagon.”

March 12: Qataris, “hosting Qatari MinDef Dr. Khalid Attiyah today at the Pentagon to discuss our strategic defense relationship.”

March 12 Budget


March 19 French “host French defense chief Florence Parly today”

March 23 ISIS defeated

“Please see my statement regarding this morning’s announcement by the Syrian Democratic Forces that the liberation of territory held by #ISIS is now 100% complete.”

March 27: “welcome Brazilian MinDef Fernando Azevedo e Silva”

March 28: “meet w/ Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi & MPs at the Pentagon today.”

March 28 Also SOUTHCOM

March 29 Votel retired, General McKenzie comes in

March 30: General Raymond Thomas leaves SOCOM, incoming SOCOM Commander GEN Clarke

April 2: South Korea meeting again and Mongolian MinDef Nyamaagiin Enkhbold

April 9: Space symposium talk

April 11: Austrian MinDef Mario Kunasek and his delegation at the Pentagon to discuss our defense cooperation

April 11: More Space Force discussions

April 12: Honored to welcome German MinDef Ursula von der Leyen & her delegation to the Pentagon today

April 19: Albanian Minister of Defense Olta Xhacka today.


April 19: Always great to see Ambassador Khalilzad “We continue to work together to set the conditions for a political settlement that will end the war in Afghanistan.”

April 19 [busy day] Today we hosted Japanese Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya

May 2: Venezuela crises 

“A free and stable Venezuela is a U.S. national security priority. Juan Guaidó is the legitimate leader of Venezuela, officially recognized by 54 countries around the world. It is not surprising that China, Russia, Cuba, and Iran recognize Nicolás Maduro….all options considered…”

May 6 Iran crises: B-52s and Abraham Lincoln CVN 72 on the way 

“Area of responsibility, which I approved yesterday, represents a prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces…We call on the Iranian regime to cease all provocation. We will hold the Iranian regime accountable for any attack on US forces or our interests.”

May 8: host Colombian Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez

May 9: ” If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy.”

May 22: “Barbara Barrett as the next Secretary of the Air Force.”

May 23: Space Force, again

May 23: Money. Senate Armed Services authorized $750B to the DoD, The operations and capabilities supported by this budget will posture the US military to compete, deter and win against any adversary for decades to come.

May 24: More troops to CENTCOM

“I approved the combatant commander’s request to deploy approximately 1,500 additional troops & defensive capabilities to the CENTCOM area to increase our force protection posture. This is a prudent response to credible threats from Iran.”

May 29: Patrick M. Shanahan enters U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) Headquarters with Commander, USINDOPACOM

May 30: arrival in Jakarta. Our strategic partnership with Indonesia is rooted in shared interests

June 1: US is a Pacific nation…”Indo-Pacific Strategy Report details DoD’s enduring commitment to upholding a free & open Indo-Pacific.”


June 2 “stand shoulder-to-shoulder w/MinDef Jeong Kyeong-doo & MinDef Takeshi Iwaya, in reaffirming our commitment to identify new opportunities to further trilateral cooperation.”

South Korea visit and then Japan (June 4)

Osan Air Base, I had a great engagement with Airmen

June 7 Russia incident

“The actions by the crew of the Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea were reckless and a violation of international norms.”

June 12: Honored to host Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak today to highlight an increasingly close strategic relationship

June 13 Gulf of Oman incident

“USS Bainbridge in rescuing merchant mariners from a Panamanian ship on fire following the attack in the Gulf of Oman. Our servicemembers are in harm’s way protecting international norms & freedoms…Iran’s continued unprovoked attacks in the region are a threat to international security and peace and an assault against freedom of navigation on the open seas….we do not seek conflict…will defend our forces and our interests around the world. We will safeguard global commerce and defend freedom of navigation.”

June 14: Pleasure to host Portuguese MinDef Cravinho today.

June 17: 1,000 more troops to CENTCOM

June 17: “I have authorized approx 1,000 add’l troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, & ground-based threats in the Middle East… The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety & welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region & to protect our national interests.

June 18 Decision not to go forward with confirmation process


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