WASHINGTON -- Heritage President Kay Coles James released the following statement Tuesday upon Mark Esper's confirmation as secretary of defense:
"The Senate's overwhelming 90-8 vote today to confirm Dr. Mark Esper to be the next secretary of defense is good news for America and reflects the confidence the Senate has in his abilities.
"The Pentagon needs strong and decisive leadership. With the increases in defense funding that President Trump and his administration have championed, the military is slowly regaining capabilities that had been in decline since 2012. The Heritage Foundation's Index of U.S. Military Strength rates the current ability of our military to execute its required tasks as 'marginal,' reflecting the need for continued funding, stewardship, and leadership to return the military to a position of dominance so it can adequately protect our country, our families, and our way of life.
"Secretary Esper brings a wealth of experience to the position: he was the secretary of the Army, an Army infantryman, a Senate staffer, and a defense industry executive.
"The Heritage Foundation is proud to have played a part in Secretary Esper's early career, when he served as the chief of staff to Heritage's founder, Dr. Ed Feulner. We think he is an outstanding choice for this critical post."