Mark Esper: A Well-Prepared Nominee for a Post of Vital Importance
‘[He’s played an active role in this administration’s efforts to restore the primacy and lethality of America’s fighting forces. And the success of defense authorizations and ongoing operations abroad bear his fingerprints. Every day, we’re reminded that this work continues — and we’re reminded why. So today, my colleagues should be proud to join me in voting to advance the Esper nomination and put the right man on the job.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper:
“The Senate’s first order of business this week will be confirming a thoroughly well-prepared nominee to a post of vital national importance. Later today, we’ll vote to advance the nomination of Dr. Mark Esper to serve Secretary of Defense. Tomorrow, we’ll vote on his confirmation.
“When Dr. Esper was nominated in July of 2017 to serve as Secretary of the Army, he already possessed an impressive record that spanned public service, the private sector, and, of course, distinguished service in uniform. As a student he excelled at West Point. He served honorably in combat during the Gulf War as an infantry officer with Kentucky’s own 101st Airborne, the ‘Screaming Eagles.’ Later he obtained a master’s degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard and a PhD from George Washington University.
“In the years since, Dr. Esper has continued to serve his country, compiling an outstanding record in public service. He’s served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Pentagon; as a Senate-appointed member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission; and of course as a trusted staff expert here in the Capitol.
“As a result, many of my colleagues have been familiar with this nominee for more than a decade. Members on both sides remember Mark Esper from his time on staff with our former colleague, Chuck Hagel. Some knew him during his tenure with the Foreign Relations Committee or with what was then the Governmental Affairs Committee. And many of us inevitably crossed paths with the smart and level-headed national security advisor for Majority Leader Bill Frist.
“So when President Trump first nominated Dr. Esper to be Secretary of the Army two years ago, my colleagues and I were well acquainted with his expertise, his professionalism, and his patriotic dedication to the men and women who serve to keep us safe. It’s no wonder, then, that this body confirmed him to that post by an overwhelmingly bipartisan margin. And since then, Secretary Esper has continued to impress. He’s continued earning the praise of experts and colleagues from every corner of the national security landscape. Quote: ‘He’s highly regarded inside the Army. Soldiers like him.’ He’s, quote, ‘someone who can work across the aisle… somebody who can work with Congress.’
“Quote: ‘Superbly well qualified by experience and temperament for the position.’ Quote: ‘The nation would be lucky to have Mark serve in any capacity... he is particularly well-suited to step into one of the most important jobs in the world.’ High praise from former Pentagon officials of the Obama years, from widely recognized national security professionals, and just last week, our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee offered a ringing endorsement of their own, voting by voice to favorably report his nomination to the floor.
“So, it’d be hard to draw up a more compelling case than the one in front of us for confirming Dr. Mark Esper. And it’s hard to imagine a more persuasive argument for doing it right away, with no further delay, than the front pages of newspapers all around the world every day. The world is full of serious threats to America, to our allies, and to our interests. Not least among them, obviously, is Iran’s insistence on continuing to ratchet up tensions in the Middle East. Having a Senate-confirmed Secretary of Defense, especially one of this quality, will not come a moment too soon.
“In closing, when Secretary Esper took his last job, he wrote Army personnel a letter that laid out three priorities: readiness, modernization, and reform. Since then, he’s played an active role in this administration’s efforts to restore the primacy and lethality of America’s fighting forces. And the success of defense authorizations and ongoing operations abroad bear his fingerprints. Every day, we’re reminded that this work continues — and we’re reminded why. So today, my colleagues should be proud to join me in voting to advance the Esper nomination and put the right man on the job.”
Related Issues: Nominations, National Security