The Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Army Secretary Dr. Mark Esper to be the next secretary of defense, closing an eight-month gap since the last permanent Pentagon chief, Roll Call reported Tuesday.
The vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan with a 90-8 tally in favor of Esper’s appointment.
Esper, who has served as Army secretary since 2017, will follow Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis (Ret.) as the Trump Administration’s second Senate-confirmed defense chief.
Esper’s fast confirmation as the Pentagon’s top official reflected both concern and confidence in Washington about the need for stability as the department faces multiple challenges both abroad and stateside, according to The Hill.
“The nominee is beyond qualified,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “His record of public service is beyond impressive. His commitment to serving our service members is beyond obvious and the need for a Senate-confirmed secretary of Defense is beyond urgent.”
Esper will be leading a number of DOD officials who are performing roles in an acting capacity. The Pentagon is currently operating without a Senate-confirmed Air Force secretary, Army secretary and deputy defense secretary, among other posts, according to the report.
A former Army infantry officer, Esper also previously served as a top executive at the defense contractor Raytheon before joining the Trump administration.
Army photo by Sgt. Mykal Zimmerman