Tuesday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, voted in favor of the confirmation of Mark Esper’s to be the next Secretary of Defense.
“Dr. Esper is well qualified to serve as Secretary of Defense by virtue of his experience serving in the Army, his numerous positions as a Congressional staffer in both the House and Senate, his experience working in private industry, and his service in various roles at the Pentagon, including most recently as Secretary of the Army,” Sen. Jones said. “As Secretary of the Army, Dr. Esper has demonstrated a strong commitment to the well-being and preparedness of our troops and has also shown himself to be a man of character, integrity, and intelligence.”
“After months without a confirmed Secretary, Dr. Esper will bring much-needed stability to the Department as it works to fulfill its national security mission and maintain a strong presence in various strategic locations around the world,” . I believe that he will also uphold the commitment that he made to me to keep the Department of Defense apolitical and to always stand up and give his candid, honest advice to the President and other members of the administration. I’m grateful for all of the assistance that he provided me as Secretary of the Army, and I’m proud to have voted for Dr. Esper’s nomination. I believe he will be an excellent Secretary of Defense.”
Jones has been criticized by some Republicans for voting against some of President Trump’s appointees, including Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice.
Dr. Mark T. Esper was born on April 26, 1964, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry. He served in the 101st Airborne Division and served in the First Gulf War in the 1990-91 Gulf War with the “Screaming Eagles.” He later commanded a Rifle Company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
After leaving active duty, he served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank. He later served as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
During the President George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon. Dr. Esper was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at Aerospace Industries Association. He served as national policy director for Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential campaign, and was a Senate-appointed commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Esper later served concurrently as the Executive Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center and as Vice President for Europe and Eurasian Affairs. Esper was the Vice President for Government Relations at the Raytheon Company, before being appointed Sec. of the Army in 2017. He was appointed acting Sec. of Defense on June 24.
Dr. Mark T. Esper was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Defense July 23 following the confirmation vote.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted to confirm Esper gaining 90 to eight.
“Our adversaries must see diplomacy as their best option, because war with the United States will force them to bear enormous costs,” Esper said.
“With the Army engaged in over 140 countries around the world, to include combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, training rotations to Europe to deter Russia, and forward deployed units in the Pacific defending against a bellicose North Korea, readiness must be our top priority,” Esper said.
Esper replaces former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who left the post in January over policy differences with President Trump.
(Original reporting by Fox New and the North Korea News contributed to this report.)