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Trump To Tap Army Secretary Mark Esper As Defense Secretary

Esper can't be acting defense secretary while he's going through confirmation. Someone else will have to step in during that process.
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 22, 2019

President Donald Trump will nominate Army Secretary Mark Esper as the next defense secretary. 

Esper fought in the Gulf War, and eventually became a defense industry lobbyist. He's been Army Secretary since late 2017.

The position's technically been vacant since Jim Mattis resigned last December. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, who has been in that role for all of 2019, had been nominated but resigned and withdrew from consideration on Tuesday.

President Trump tweeted that Shanahan "decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family." The announcement came shortly after reports surfaced of past violent incidents within Shanahan's family.

The president said at the time that Esper would replace Shanahan as acting secretary, but it's actually illegal for Esper to go through the confirmation process while he's serving as acting secretary.

The acting role would have to be filled by someone else while Esper goes through confirmation. The next in the line of succession is Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.