US Senate confirms Mark Esper to be new Pentagon chief

  • 21:23 23 July 2019

US Senate confirms Mark Esper to be new Pentagon chief

The Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor Tuesday of confirming former Raytheon executive Mark Esper to helm the Pentagon, ending months of leadership uncertainty at the Defense Department, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

The Pentagon had been without a permanent defense secretary since James Mattis left the post at the end of December over disagreements with President Donald Trump.

That ended with the Senate's 90-8 vote on Tuesday in favor of confirming Esper who is set to be sworn in before day's end.

Esper is an Army veteran and defense industry lobbyist who served as Raytheon's vice president for government relations before joining the Pentagon in 2017 as Army secretary.

He is Trump's second pick to lead the department after Mattis' number two, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew from consideration over public revelations about his family.

Shanahan had served as acting defense chief following Mattis' resignation until the middle of June when the Washington Post newspaper reported on incidents of abuse within his family dating back to 2010.

Esper took over as acting defense secretary prior to being officially nominated by the president.

Trump on Tuesday nominated David Norquist to be the Pentagon's number two, as deputy secretary of defense, though he will have to be confirmed by the Senate.