WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that Mark Esper will serve as acting secretary of defense. Esper, a former Heritage Foundation chief of staff, is a West Point graduate and retired as a lieutenant colonel after 21 years of military service. He has been serving as secretary of the Army since November 2017.
“Mark Esper is an all-American public servant,” says James Jay Carafano, vice president for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and the E.W. Richardson fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
“The nation would be lucky to have Mark serve in any capacity, but he is particularly well-suited to step into one of the most important jobs in the world—leading the men and women of the armed forces in defense of America’s interests,” added Carafano, a 25-year U.S. Army veteran.
While serving as secretary of the Army, Esper spoke at The Heritage Foundation about the U.S. National Defense Strategy at an event hosted by Thomas Spoehr, director of Heritage’s Center for National Defense.
“The qualities that made Mark Esper a great secretary of the Army will make him a great acting secretary of Defense, and ultimately secretary of defense, if nominated,” said Spoehr, who served for over 36 years in the U.S. Army.
“Esper has an excellent blend of Army, business and Capitol Hill experience as well as a great relationship with Gen. Mark Milley, the soon-to-be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, which will serve him and the nation well.”