Trump Places Army Secretary in Charge of Pentagon After Shanahan Withdraws From Consideration

June 18, 2019 Updated: June 19, 2019

President Donald Trump announced that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has withdrawn from consideration for the permanent job and revealed his replacement.

Trump took to Twitter on June 18, writing: “Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family.”

“I thank Pat for his outstanding service and will be naming Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense.”

Trump said that he believes Esper will do a good job “I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!” he wrote.

The White House announced in May that Shanahan was nominated to be the permanent Secretary of Defense. Shanahan had been the deputy secretary of defense until Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned on Jan. 1.

“Based upon his outstanding service to the country and his demonstrated ability to lead, President Trump intends to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan to be the Secretary of Defense,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement at the time.

Shanahan followed the statement with his own, writing on Twitter: “I am honored by today’s announcement from @PressSec. If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue the aggressive implementation of our National Defense Strategy. I remain committed to modernizing the force so our remarkable Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have everything they need to keep our military lethal and our country safe.”

Esper, Shanahan’s replacement, was confirmed as Secretary of the Army on Nov. 15, 2017.

According to a Department of Defense biography, Esper was a senior executive at the Raytheon Company for the seven years prior to being confirmed. In the past, he has also been executive vice president for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center and as vice president for Europe and Eurasian Affairs.

“Esper also has extensive experience working on Capitol Hill. He served as National Security Advisor 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. Esper also served as the Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Chuck Hagel,” the bio said.

“His Pentagon experience includes serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Negotiations Policy) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and earlier on the Army staff as a war planner. Esper was also a Chief of Staff of the Heritage Foundation, and taught at Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies program in Fairfax, Virginia.”

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