Third Time’s a Charm – Mark Esper Confirmed as Army Secretary
Trump’s third pick for Army Secretary is Mark Esper, who was finally confirmed by the Senate on November 15 by a vote of 89-6. The previous two nominees withdrew their names before confirmation hearings began. He had been nominated over the summer, but wrangling delayed his confirmation hearings.
“This means recruiting and retaining the best our nation has to offer, ensuring these young men and women are well-trained and well-led, and equipping them with the best weapons and technology available. Every unit must be prepared to deploy and accomplish its mission. These are the fundamental (job) duties of the secretary of the Army.” Mark Esper, newly confirmed Secretary of the Army
Esper graduated from West Point in 1986. Following his graduation, he served for 10 years in the US Army, including the First Gulf War in 1990 as an Infantry Officer with the 101st Airborne.
“In 1990, he deployed in support of the first Gulf War, where his battalion, the 3-187th Infantry Battalion, played a vital role in General Norman Schwarzkopf’s “Left Hook.” The idea was to avoid the heavily fortified Iraq-Kuwait border by coming in through Saudi Arabia to cut off the Iraqi Army and Republican Guard divisions still stationed in Kuwait. For his actions in Iraq, Esper received the Bronze Star and his Combat Infantryman Badge, among other awards.”
After his regular Army service, Esper joined the National Guard and Army Reserve. He retired as a Lt. Colonel. From there he went on to serve as the Bush Administration’s deputy assistant Secretary of Defense from 2002-2004. In 2004, he served as Director for National Security Affairs for the U.S. Senate. More about his career and background here.
After that, he became vice-president of government relations at the defense contractor Raytheon. He had to guarantee that he would recuse himself from matters related to Raytheon that may come before him.
Trump has been criticized for relying on nominees from Defense contractors, for picking military people to fill civilian military posts, for breathing and walking upright. But the Army has not had a regular Secretary – only a few months- for the last two years. It’s time to settle in.
Secretary Esper has focused on readiness as his goal for the Army, and rightly so.
“My first priority will be readiness — ensuring the total Army is prepared to fight across the full spectrum of conflict. 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.” Secretary of the Army Mark Esper
Featured photo: screenshot