Mark Esper Is ‘A Soldier, A Scholar,’ And ‘An All-American Public Servant’

Secretary Mark Esper Has Garnered Bipartisan Praise As ‘A Very Solid Nomination,’ ‘Superbly Well Qualified By Experience And Temperament For The Position’ Of Secretary Of Defense Who Demonstrates ‘Excellent Judgement,’ ‘Sound Character And Moral Courage’


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Acting Secretary Esper is an impressive leader with a distinguished record in uniform, on Capitol Hill, in the private sector, and as a senior leader at the Pentagon. I’m glad President Trump has chosen someone so qualified to continue rebuilding and modernizing the U.S. military, strengthening our strategic alliances, and helping our nation confront the wide variety of national security challenges that we face.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 7/09/2019)


Former Obama Administration Defense Officials: ‘Mark Is A Very Good Person … A Very Solid Nomination,’ ‘Someone Who Can Work Across The Aisle … Somebody Who Can Work With Congress … A Soldier, A Scholar’

FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL: “Mark is a very good person. He works hard, he’s smart, he’s dedicated ... I think it would be a very solid nomination … Certainly, I would strongly favor that nomination if that’s what President Trump would decide to do.” (“Trump’s Pick To Lead The Pentagon Brings Military Experience And Political Savvy To His New Job,” Roll Call, 6/18/2019)

MARK JACOBSON, former Senior Advisor to Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter: “[Mark Esper] is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he was an Army officer, spent considerable time on Capitol Hill. In fact, when he was at the House Armed Services Committee, I was at the Pentagon, and he and I worked to try to reduce the burden of reporting requirements that Congress had of the Pentagon. So this is someone who can work across the aisle. This is somebody who can work with Congress. And that’s really what defines him. A soldier, a scholar. In fact, he’s a Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University as well. So we have a pretty well-rounded individual who’s going to go take the reins for a while.” (MSNBC, 6/19/2019)

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, U.S. Navy, Ret., Former Obama Administration Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs: “As Secretary of the Army, he’s principally involved in what we call Title X authorities: man, train, and equip. Get the soldiers ready, get them trained, get them the kinds of programs, the capabilities, the systems they need to do their jobs. And he’s done a very good job of that. He’s highly regarded inside the Army. Soldiers like him, he does have credibility, having been a soldier himself…. [B]y all accounts, he certainly has all the qualifications.” (CNN, 6/18/2019)


Bipartisan Congressional Defense Leaders: Secretary Esper Is ‘A Highly-Qualified Choice With Distinguished Military Service & Proven Leadership Abilities,’ ‘A Person Of Sound Character And Moral Courage,’ ‘The Department [Of Defense] Would Benefit From His Leadership’

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman: “President Trump has made a good decision in having Secretary Esper serve as Acting Secretary of Defense. Secretary Esper has a long history of dedicated service to this nation, and he has shown excellent judgment in his current position, which I expect will continue …” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 6/18/2019)

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI), Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member: “Secretary Esper, as we review your qualifications to serve as Secretary of Defense, I note that you have a wealth of experience in defense policy, including recent service as the Secretary of the Army. Prior to that, you also served in senior leadership positions in both the public and private sector. If confirmed as the next Secretary of Defense, you background experience should serve you well…. Our service members, and their families, should always be at the forefront when considering defense policy or military action. Secretary Esper, if confirmed, I am confident that you will do so.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/16/2019)

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “I’ve worked closely with Mark Esper in his role as Secretary of the Army and believe he has demonstrated strong leadership.” (Sen. Ernst, Press Release, 6/22/2019)

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “I have worked with [Mark Esper] over the past two years. As secretary of the Army, I’ve been impressed. He knows the Pentagon. He knows the military. So I think he starts at a good place.” (CNN, 6/19/2019)

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), Senate Armed Services Committee Member: “Over the past two years, my interactions with Dr. Esper have led me to the conclusion that he is a person of sound character and moral courage, which I believe are the most important traits of a Secretary of Defense charged with the lives of the women and men who serve the Department of Defense…. [W]hat we’ve hoped for is a successor [to former Secretary James Mattis] who can show the same level of candor, and principle, and a willingness to remain independent even in the most challenging circumstances. I believe that Dr. Esper has those traits and would encourage all of my colleagues to support his nomination.” (U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 7/16/2019)

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chairman: “Pleased that [President Trump] has announced his intent to nominate Mark Esper to be the next [Defense] Secretary. Esper, a West Point graduate & former U.S. Army Secretary, is a highly-qualified choice with distinguished military service & proven leadership abilities. This is good news.” (Sen. Shelby, @SenShelby, Twitter, 6/22/2019)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL) Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Ranking Member: “I like [Esper], I respect him, and I’m leaning his way if he’s going to be our Secretary of Defense.” (“Mark Esper Is Acting Defense Secretary. Will Trump Make It Permanent?,” Military Times, 6/19/2019)

REP. ADAM SMITH (D-WA), House Armed Serviced Committee Chairman: “I am encouraged that the newly appointed Acting Secretary, Mark Esper, has a track record of public service both as a soldier and in government….. If confirmed, I am confident that Secretary Esper is capable of executing the national defense strategy in a way that is insulated from outside influence and political considerations.  I have known Esper for years, both as a staff member on the Hill and in private industry, and believe the Department would benefit from his leadership.  I look forward to our continued work together.” (U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, Press Release, 6/18/2019)

REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX), House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member: “Mark Esper has distinguished himself as a soldier, public servant, and senior executive. He has done an outstanding job as Secretary of the Army, and I am confident that he will do an admirable job as the Acting Secretary of Defense.” (U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Republicans, Press Release, 6/18/2019)


Defense Policy Experts: ‘Mark Esper Is Superbly Well Qualified By Experience And Temperament,’ ‘An All-American Public Servant … Particularly Well-Suited To Step Into One Of The Most Important Jobs In The World’

GEN. BARRY R. McCAFFREY, U.S. Army, Ret.: “New [Secretary of Defense] nominee Mark Esper is superbly well qualified by experience and temperament for the position. Combat veteran infantry officer. West Point. Defense intellectual. Pentagon civilian high level staff. Technology. Needs rapid Senate confirmation.” (Gen. McCaffrey, @mccaffreyr3, Twitter, 6/25/2019)

MICHAEL O’HANLON, Brookings Institution: “I think he’s a very smart guy, very experienced…. He’s known as a very bright guy who’s been a Washington insider for many years after being an accomplished soldier … He’s very accomplished in his Army career - in the secretary of the Army position these last 2 1/2 years…. I’m a big supporter of Mark Esper …” (“How Shanahan’s Exit From The Department Of Defense Will Impact National Security,” NPR, 6/18/2019)

JAMES JAY CARAFANO, The Heritage Foundation: “Mark Esper is an all-American public servant…. The nation would be lucky to have Mark serve in any capacity, but he is particularly well-suited to step into one of the most important jobs in the world—leading the men and women of the armed forces in defense of America’s interests.” (The Heritage Foundation, Press Release, 6/19/2019)

MARK CANCIAN, Center for Strategic and International Studies: “Esper got very good reviews [as Secretary of the Army] … I think he’s a good pick.” (“Major Power Shift Underway at Pentagon as Army Leaders Step Up,” Military.com, 6/18/2019)


Related Issues: National Security, America's Military, Nominations