This is Mark Esper, the Gulf War Army veteran and defense lobbyist who Trump has tapped to lead the Pentagon
- Mark T. Esper became the acting secretary of defense on Monday after former acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan stepped down from his post, citing family concerns.
- Esper is the former secretary of the Army, and was a lobbyist for the weapons manufacturer Raytheon.
- Esper attended West Point with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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Who is Mark Esper, the man President Donald Trump has tapped to lead the Pentagon after retired Gen. James Mattis' departure in December and Patrick Shanahan's abrupt resignation last week?
Esper comes to the position after the failed nomination of Patrick Shanahan, who Trump had picked to take over after Mattis resigned over Trump's announcement that he would pull troops from Syria. Shanahan withdrew his nomination last week after his confirmation hearing was stalled for months, and in the midst of a potential conflict with Iran.
Esper is the second acting defense secretary in six months, and will leave his post as secretary of the Army. Trump has nominated Ryan McCarthy, the under secretary of the Army to take Esper's place in the Army's top post, according to The New York Times.