Administrator of the Maritime Administration: Who Is Chip Jaenichen?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Acting head of the Maritime Administration Paul N. (Chip) Jaenichen Sr. was nominated as permanent administrator on September 10, 2013, by President Barack Obama. In that post, Jaenichen is responsible for overseeing the Department of Transportation’s efforts to promote water transportation and the viability of the U.S. Merchant Marine.


Jaenichen is from Brandenburg, Kentucky. Both of his parents served in the Army. He graduated from Meade County High School in 1978. He accepted an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, from where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in ocean engineering. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.


Most of Jaenichen’s 30-year Navy career was spent in submarines. He served on the USS Skipjack, the USS Oklahoma City, the USS Baton Rouge (SSN 689) and the USS Key West. From 1994 to 1996, he was executive officer on the USS Kentucky. In September 1999 Jaenichen was selected as captain of the USS Albany, a fast-attack submarine, where he served for almost three years. From 2005 to 2007, Jaenichen was chief of the Western/Eastern Europe and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Divisions on the Strategic Plans and Policy Joint Staff.  In April 2007, Jaenichen was appointed commander of Submarine Squadron 11, based in San Diego, in which post he served until September 2008. He then served two years as director of submarine/nuclear power distribution, overseeing 4,500 submarine officers and aviators. His last posting, from October 2010 to May 2012, was as deputy chief of legislative affairs for the Department of the Navy.


After retiring from the Navy, Jaenichen in July 2012 was appointed deputy maritime administrator. The following June, he was appointed acting administrator after the departure of David Matsuda.


In 1989, Jaenichen was issued a patent, which was assigned to the Navy, for a “phase control mechanism for wave energy conversion.”


Jaenichen lives in Bowie, Maryland, with his wife Paula, a retired teacher. They have two children: daughter Rachel, a high school English teacher, and son Nathan, like his father an Annapolis graduate, who is a Marine aviator.

-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky


Official Biography

Tribute to Chip Jaenichen by Sen. Mitch McConnell


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