Fast ThinkingMay 25, 2023
Biden’s pick for joint chiefs chairman sends a message to China
By Atlantic Council
US President Joe Biden is nominating Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown as the next chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Atlantic Council experts share their insights on the pick.
Thom Shanker is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He is the director of the Project for Media and National Security, an initiative within the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs that works to deepen public understanding of national security.
Prior to his time at the Atlantic Council and George Washington University, Shanker was a longtime Pentagon correspondent and editor for the New York Times. Shanker’s nearly quarter-century career with the Times included thirteen years covering the US Department of Defense, overseas combat operations, and national-security policymaking. He conducted dozens of reporting trips to Afghanistan and Iraq and has embedded in the field with units from the squad and company level through battalion, brigade, division, and corps. He has chronicled a historic series of defense secretaries, including Donald H. Rumsfeld, Robert M. Gates, Leon E. Panetta, and Chuck Hagel. More recently, Shanker served as deputy Washington editor of diplomacy, military, and veterans affairs.
Shanker is an author, with Eric Schmitt, of Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda, published in August 2011 by Times Books and Henry Holt & Company. The book became a New York Times best seller.
Before joining the Times in 1997, he was foreign editor of the Chicago Tribune. Shanker was the Tribune’s senior European correspondent, based in Berlin from 1992 to 1995. Most of that time was spent covering the wars in former Yugoslavia, where Shanker was the first reporter to uncover and write about the Serb campaign of systematic mass rape of Muslim women. He spent five years as the Tribune’s Moscow correspondent, covering from the start of the Gorbachev era to the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the collapse of the communist empire in Eastern Europe.
Shanker attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, studying strategic nuclear policy and international law. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the college.