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Senate confirms new defense secretary

Mark Esper Associated Press/Photo by Susan Walsh

Senate confirms new defense secretary

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate approved Mark Esper as the new secretary of defense Tuesday by a vote of 90-8, ending seven months of the Pentagon operating without a Senate-confirmed leader. Patrick Shanahan took the position of acting secretary of defense Jan. 1 after Gen. Jim Mattis resigned in December. President Donald Trump originally nominated Shanahan to fill the role permanently, but accusations of domestic violence among members of his family led to his withdrawal from consideration in June.

Esper briefly replaced Shanahan as acting secretary but stepped down to go through vetting by the Senate after Trump nominated him just over a week ago. Both the White House and the Senate said at the time that they expected the confirmation process to move quickly. Richard Spencer, secretary of the Navy, served as acting leader of the Pentagon in the interim.

Esper is a veteran of the first Gulf War who served with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, earning a Bronze Star. He recently worked as a lobbyist with Raytheon, a large government contractor, until he became secretary of the Army in November 2017.

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a former political reporter for WORLD’s Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate.



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