McPherson will succeed Thomas Modly, who stepped down Tuesday after coming under fire with regard to his handling of the dismissal of a commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
McPherson “is a retired Admiral with a distinguished 26 year naval career, serving ashore, afloat and overseas during his time in uniform,” Esper said in a statement Tuesday. “He is a smart, capable, and professional leader who will restore confidence and stability in the Navy during these challenging times.”
The Senate confirmed McPherson in March as undersecretary of the Army. He previously served as the 22nd general counsel of the service branch. He is former executive director of the National Association of Attorneys General and general counsel for the Department of Defense’s counterintelligence field activity.
He retired from the Navy in 2006 as the service’s judge advocate general.