The US Senate has chosen Mark Esper 55 as the new Secretary of Defense in the Cabinet of President Donald Trump. Thus, the top posts in the Pentagon after more than half a year again regularly occupied. The Senate voted on Tuesday with 90 to 8 votes for the staff.
The replacement of the post had become necessary because the previous Secretary of Defense James Mattis was resigned last December due to disagreements with Donald Trump. The president initially nominated Mattis’ former deputy Patrick Shanahan for the office. However, Shanahan later withdrew from the nomination process. The Washington Post reported earlier acts of violence in his family.
Esper was previously “Secretary of the Army” and thus the highest ranking civilian in the US Army, which reports directly to the Minister of Defense. He himself was a soldier in the army and was among other things awarded for his use in the second Gulf War. Later, he worked as a lobbyist for the arms company Raytheon.
In a hearing last week, Esper had asked Senators questions, saying he was determined to strengthen alliances with other countries. His predecessor Mattis, in his letter of resignation to Trump, had cited fundamental differences of substance with the president as the reason for his withdrawal, emphasizing the importance of international alliances. Trump has consistently criticized NATO, among others.
When asked whether he too would resign on such a matter, Esper said at the hearing that he would consider resigning if he were asked to do something illegal or immoral.