"President Trump has made a good decision in having Secretary Esper serve as acting secretary of defense".
On Tuesday US President Donald Trump announced in a tweet that Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan would not proceed with his confirmation process, nominating Army Secretary Mark Esper to take over the post.
McCarthy also served at the Pentagon in former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' office, where officials said he was the "right hand man" for the 22nd defense secretary, who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama. He served as National Security Adviser for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist; Policy Director for the House Armed Services Committee; and as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Government Affairs Committees where he was responsible for national security issues.
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If confirmed, Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for Raytheon, would succeed Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria.
Esper has served as Army Secretary since November 2017. "I know him and I think he'll do very well in the acting role", said Sen. His duties include the recruitment, organization, training, equipping, and care of 1.4 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and their families.
Also complicating the matter, Esper can not serve as acting defense secretary while his nomination is open, due to a limitation within the 1998 Federal Vacancies Act.
Earlier in the day, The New York Times reported the United States president's intention to officially nominate Esper.
He said that he had focused on Beijing's growing military might for a long time, even before the Pentagon rolled out a National Defense Strategy in 2018 that prioritized competition with China and Russian Federation over counter-insurgencies in places like Afghanistan.