U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan on Tuesday resigned his post and withdrew from consideration for the currently vacant post of defense secretary.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced the resignation via social media, saying that Shanahan would not go forward with the nomination process to spend more time with his family.
The post of Acting Defense Secretary will now be filled by Dr. Mark T. Esper, who will move from his current job as Secretary of the Army.
“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. I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!” Trump tweeted.
According to his army bio page, Esper was a senior executive at the Raytheon Company and “served concurrently as 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 has also worked as the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee in Washington and has worked as “the deputy assistant secretary of defense (Negotiations Policy)” as a war planner.
Speaking to CNBC News in March, Esper said he considered North Korea to be one of Washington’s most pressing security challenges.
“I think the biggest immediate challenge is North Korea. And then as we look in the out years, between 2025 and 2035, Russia. But the biggest challenge is clearly China, in the years 2035 and beyond,” Esper said.
During the confirmation hearing for his previous post as Secretary of the Army in 2017, Esper also noted the need to remain ready against threats from the DPRK.
“With the Army engaged in over 140 countries around the world, to include combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, training rotations to Europe to deter Russia, and forward deployed units in the Pacific defending against a bellicose North Korea, readiness must be our top priority,” Esper said.
Shanahan’s exit follows that of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who left the post in January citing policy differences with Trump.
The U.S. President’s high-level staffing jobs have seen an above average amount of turnover, with Trump also replacing former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo in March last year.
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Featured Image: 190411-D-PB383-031 by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 2019-04-11 14:48:55