Army Secretary Mark Esper was named the new acting secretary of defense by President Trump on Tuesday after Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination.
Before his appointment, Esper acted as the 23rd Secretary of the United States Army since Nov. 17, 2017. His duties included the recruitment, organization, training, equipping and care of 1.4 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians and their families, according to his Pentagon biography.
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Esper graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1986 — the same year as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He received his commission in the infantry.
Esper served on active duty for over a decade. In the Gulf War, he served with the 101st Airborne Division. He later commanded an airborne rifle company in Europe.
Following his service on active duty, he served in both the Virginia and District of Columbia National Guard and Army Reserve. He retired in 2007.
His experience extends to Capitol Hill, where he has held several posts. He previously served Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as a national security advisor and Senator Chuck Hagel as his legislative director and senior policy advisor.
At the Pentagon, he served on the Army staff as a war planner before becoming the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Negotiations Policy) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
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His military awards and honors include the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal and Kuwait Liberation Medal — Saudi Arabia and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He also received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
He’s held executive positions at Raytheon Company, a defense contractor. He was most recently the vice president for government relations.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.