Senate confirms Mark T. Esper as secretary of defense on Tuesday, effectively ending the longest leaderless period for the Pentagon in American history
Mark T. Esper, a fifty-five year old “Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for the military contractor Raytheon,” was confirmed as the Trump administration’s defense secretary Tuesday in a bipartisan 90 to 8 vote (The New York Times, 2019). Esper’s confirmation, which has come at a time of escalating tensions with the nation of Iran, effectively ends the longest leaderless period for the Pentagon in American history. ~
Mr. Esper’s assumption of the secretary of defense position comes as the second choice for the Trump Administration. According to The New York Times, after the former Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in December “during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria,” President Trump’s first choice to replace Mr. Mattis was Patrick M. Shanahan. Mr. Shanahan, however, resigned from the position in June before the Senate could even schedule his confirmation hearing after controversial details of his 2011 divorce surfaced, leading to the appointment of Mr. Esper by President Trump. ~
Mr. Esper will now take control of the United States’ military – one of the largest in the world – and be in charge of over 1.2 million active-duty troops. The recent escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran has caused many to believe that a military confrontation with the hostile power is a possibility, yet it remains unclear what Mr. Esper’s first actions as acting defense secretary will be. ~
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