Senate Confirms Mark Esper as U.S. Secretary of Defense

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Mark Esper, Secretary of the Army

Mark Esper, secretary of the U.S. Army and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient, was confirmed as the next U.S. defense secretary following a 90 to 8 Senate vote, according to the Wall Street Journal’s report on Tuesday.

Esper succeeds former defense chief Jim Mattis, who announced his resignation in December 2018 and left office at the end of February, and ends the longest period the Pentagon has had without a Senate approved leader in office.

“The nominee is beyond qualified,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said prior to the vote in the New York Post. “His record of public service is beyond impressive. His commitment to serving our service members is beyond obvious and the need for a Senate-confirmed secretary of defense is beyond urgent.”

Previously, Esper was confirmed as the 23rd secretary of the U.S. Army in November 2017. He was vice president of government relations for Raytheon for seven years prior to his appointment. He served as executive vice president for the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center and as vice president for Europe and Eurasian Affairs between 2008 and 2010. He also served as the chief operating officer and executive vice president of defense and international affairs for the Aerospace Industries Association.

Esper holds a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in public policy from George Washington University. He has received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

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