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Eric Chewning

Co-leads McKinsey’s Aerospace & Defense Practice in the Americas


Eric co-leads McKinsey’s Aerospace & Defense Practice in the Americas.

He has 20 years of experience advising decision makers in national security markets, and supports clients in the areas of growth strategy, strategic due diligence, M&A advisory, corporate portfolio management, supply chain resiliency, and strategy-based transformation.

Eric’s experience spans the public and private sectors. Eric was the chief of staff to the Secretary of Defense. In this role he led the secretary’s executive team, working across the military services, Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, and senior civilian political appointees. He also provided counsel and advice to the secretary on all matters concerning the department.

Prior to serving as the chief of staff, Eric was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy. In this capacity, he was the principal advisor for analyzing the capabilities, policies, and overall health of the defense industrial base. He represented the Department of Defense on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States as well as the Hart-Scott-Rodino anti-trust reviews. He also led the federal government-wide review on the U.S. defense industrial base.

Eric is a former US Army military intelligence officer and veteran. Prior to his military service, Eric was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he focused on corporate finance and M&A in the global industrials sector.

Eric’s analysis of foreign policy, military strategy, and the defense industrial base have been featured in several national media outlets, including American Interest, Brookings, Defense News, Financial Times, Military Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and War on the Rocks. He has testified before the U.S. Congress three times.

Eric received an MBA from Darden School of Business at University of Virginia where he was recognized as a Shermet Scholar. He also earned an MA in international relations and BA with honors from University of Chicago. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Published work

Implementing inflation response strategies at defense companies,” McKinsey & Company, December 2022

Inflation: How defense companies can support national security,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

How will US funding for defense technology innovation evolve?,” McKinsey & Company, November 2022

Delivering the US manufacturing renaissance,” McKinsey & Company, August 2022

Debugging the software talent gap in aerospace and defense,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

War in Ukraine: Twelve disruptions changing the world,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

US manufacturing: The next frontier for sustainable, inclusive growth,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

The $773 billion question: Inflation’s impact on defense spending,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

War in Ukraine: Lives and livelihoods, lost and disrupted,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

Using a cost-control tower to drive affordability in defense,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

A sustainable, inclusive, and growing future for the United States,” McKinsey & Company, November 2021

Defense affordability: It’s time for a new approach,” McKinsey & Company, October 2021

Building a more competitive US manufacturing sector,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2021

Lessons from the military for COVID-time leadership,” McKinsey & Company, May 2020

Past experience

U.S. Department of Defense
Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense

U.S. Department of Defense
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Industrial Policy

US Army
Captain (O-3)

Morgan Stanley
Investment banking analyst


University of Chicago

University of Virginia