WASHINGTON -- Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, director of The Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense, released the following comments Tuesday as the Senate Armed Services Committee takes up the nomination of Mark Esper for secretary of defense:
“In these challenging times, our country needs an experienced leader at the Department of Defense (DOD). The department has gone too long without a presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed secretary of defense. While the outstanding public servants in the Pentagon can keep the department running, a permanent secretary conveys continuity, authority and presidential trust in a manner an acting official simply cannot.
“Mark Esper is an excellent choice to lead the DOD. His deep, powerful mixture of military, congressional and private industry experience will serve him well. His years at Raytheon, in particular, give him unique insights and understanding of the defense industrial base from which more leaders at the Pentagon would benefit, and his two years as secretary of the Army have demonstrated he is ready to move to the next level.
“America faces many security threats and challenges today — Iran’s disruptive and belligerent behavior, and ramping up of uranium enrichment; an ever-aggressive Russia menacing our partners and friends in Europe; and the fight for consistent funding to continue rebuilding our military. To ensure America is fully prepared to face these challenges, the Senate should confirm Esper as quickly as possible.”