President Trump Remarks at Swearing-In Ceremony of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense – 7/24/2019

Dr. Mark T. Esper

Secretary of Defense

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Dr. Mark T. Esper was born on April 26, 1964, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry. Upon completion of Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the 1990-91 Gulf War with the “Screaming Eagles.” He later commanded a Rifle Company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

After leaving active duty, he served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank, followed by service as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. During the President George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon.

From 2006-2007, Dr. Esper was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at Aerospace Industries Association. He was the national policy director to Senator Fred Thompson for his 2008 presidential campaign, and was a Senate-appointed commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Dr. Esper later served concurrently as the Executive Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center and as Vice President for Europe and Eurasian Affairs from 2008-2010. Before being nominated as the Secretary of the Army in 2017, Dr. Esper was the Vice President for Government Relations at the Raytheon Company.

Dr. Esper is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Among his many military awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Dr. Esper holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University. Dr. Esper and his wife, Leah, have been married for 30 years and have 3 adult children.

The Honorable Mark T. Esper was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Defense July 23, 2019. He served as Acting Secretary of Defense from June 24, 2019, to July 15, 2019. Dr. Esper served as the Secretary of the Army from Nov. 20, 2017, to June 24, 2019, and from July 15, 2019, to July 23, 2019.

Source:  U.S. Department of Defense

Remarks by the President Trump at Swearing-In Ceremony of Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense

Esper is first Senate-confirmed defense chief since Jim Mattis resigned in December. The vote was 90-8 #FoxNews


Issued on:

Oval Office

5:43 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you very much everybody.  We have a very important moment in our country’s history, actually.  And we had a lot of our great Republican senators in the White House, and I invited them over and many of them wanted to be here.  And as you probably heard, the vote just took place, and it was 90 to 8.  That’s a vote that we’re not accustomed to, Mark, I have to say that.  So congratulations, that’s great.

But I’m honored to be here today for the swearing-in of our new Secretary of Defense, Mark T. Esper.  I especially want to thank Justice Samuel Alito — highly respected and a great gentleman, a great man — for joining us to administer the Oath of Office.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Sam.

We’re also delighted to welcome several of Secretary Esper’s family members and friends to the White House today, including his mother, Polly.  Hi, Polly.  (Laughter.)  Boy, are you proud of him, Polly?  You better believe it.  Yeah.  (Laughter.)  His wife, Leah.  Thank you, Leah, very much.  And his three children — Luke, John, and Kathryn.  Thank you very much.  Congratulations, too, most importantly.  Congratulations.  That’s an incredible thing.

There is no one more qualified to lead the Department of Defense than Mark Esper.  A West Point graduate — great student, actually — Secretary Esper served our military for 21 years, including in the Gulf War.  He also advanced U.S. national security in government and in private sector, most recently as Secretary of the Army, where he played a critical role training and equipping our armed forces.  That’s where I got to know Mark.  And there was nobody that did a better job than Mark and there’s nobody that loves it more than Mark.  And thank you very much.

He is a recipient of the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge.  He holds a doctorate in public policy from George Washington University and a master of public administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

I am confident that he will be an outstanding Secretary of Defense.  I have absolutely no doubt about it.  He is outstanding in every way.  And we’re honored to have you aboard.  And I would ask Justice Alito, please, to administer the Oath of Office.  Thank you.  Thank you, Judge.

(The oath is administered.)  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Would you like to say something?

SECRETARY ESPER:  Yes, sir, if I may.


SECRETARY ESPER:  Well, thank you, Mr. President, for your kind words, for your confidence in me, and for this incredible opportunity.  And thank you, Justice Alito, for administering the Oath of Office.  I really appreciate you being here this afternoon.

I’d also like to Senate — to thank the Senate Armed Services Committee for its quick action on my nomination and for the strong bipartisan support that I received today from the entire United States Senate.

It is an honor of a lifetime to be appointed Secretary of Defense and to lead the greatest military in history.  And I will do so with that same energy and commitment to duty, honor, and country that I have for nearly four decades since my early days at West Point.

Mr. President, it is a privilege for me and for my family to be here with you today.  Thank you for your leadership and for your commitment to a strong national defense and to all of our service members.  Our military has made tremendous gains in recent years thanks to your leadership and we stand ready today to take on any challenge.

And while our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines stand guard each and every day, we will ensure their families are well taken care of.

On a personal note, I would like to thank my wife, Leah, who has been by my side now for 30 years as a military spouse herself; my children, Luke, John, and Kate; my mother, Polly; my in-laws, Tom and Von; and my sisters who join me here today.  And everybody else who has been a steadfast supporter of me over the years.

Again, thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to serve our great country once again, as Secretary of Defense.  Thank you, sir.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, Mark.  Congratulations.


THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.  Proud of you.  Come on over here.


(A certificate is presented.)

THE PRESIDENT:  He’s going to be a great one.  Thank you very much.


5:50 P.M. EDT


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