Know a Nominee: Mark Esper to be Secretary of Defense
Do you support or oppose Esper's nomination?
by Countable | 7.23.19
UPDATED - 7/23/19: The Senate voted 90-8 to confirm Mark Esper as secretary of defense, who will take leadership of the Dept. of Defense after he is sworn in. Eight Democratic senators voted against his confirmation, including 2020 presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
UPDATED - 7/22/19: The Senate voted 85-6 to limit debate on Esper's nomination as secretary of defense, setting up a confirmation vote Tuesday. All six senators in opposition were Democrats, including Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Countable's original post appears below.
The Senate is expected to vote this week on the nomination of Mark Esper to be Secretary of Defense, starting with a procedural vote Monday ahead of a potential confirmation vote Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know about the nominee:
Who is Mark Esper?
- Esper, 55, was confirmed by the Senate on an 89-6 vote in 2017 as Army Secretary, a role he held until June 2019 when became Acting Defense Secretary. After President Donald Trump nominated him as the permanent Defense Secretary, Esper resigned as Acting Defense Secretary on July 15, 2019, to allow his nomination to be considered by the Senate.
- Esper served as an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne during the Persian Gulf War as part of the famed “left hook” that defeated Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military in 1991. Later, he led an Airborne Rifle Company in Europe and served as a fellow at the Pentagon.
- After transitioning to National Guard duty and later the Army Reserve, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He worked as a policy staffer at the Heritage Foundation, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the House Armed Services Committee, and on arms control issues in the George W. Bush administration.
- Esper left the military in 2007 and advised Sen. Fred Thompson’s (R-TN) presidential campaign before holding positions with the Global Intellectual Property Center and the Chamber of Commerce. He then joined defense contractor Raytheon in 2010, receiving awards for his corporate lobbying from The Hill in 2015 and 2016.
- Esper, a native of Pennsylvania, graduated with honors in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1986. He later earned a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1995 and a doctorate of philosophy from George Washington University in 2008.
What’s the outlook for his nomination?
- The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Esper’s nomination on a voice vote and his nomination is expected to receive bipartisan support on the Senate floor.
- In committee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked that the record reflect her opposition to Esper’s nomination after Esper declined her request to recuse himself from decisions involving Raytheon if confirmed as Defense Secretary, claiming his nomination “smacks of corruption, plan and simple.”
What does the Dept. of Defense do?
- The Dept. of Defense (DOD) coordinates and supervises the national security activities of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is America’s largest employer with 2.87 million personnel under its supervision in 2015, which included 1.3 million active duty servicemen and women, more than 800,000 members of the National Guard and military reserve, plus 732,079 civilians.
- The DOD’s base budget for fiscal year 2019 is $606.5 billion, with $67.9 billion in additional funding for overseas contingency operations out of a total authorization of $708 billion.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: DOD Photo by Sean Kimmons / Public Domain)
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