Trump nominates Esper, Spencer temporarily takes over as Pentagon chief

Pentagon to Get Unprecedented 3rd Acting Chief This Year

Pentagon to Get Unprecedented 3rd Acting Chief This Year

US President Donald Trump in June nominated Mark Esper, previously the US secretary of the Army, to be the next defence secretary after his first choice, Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan, withdrew from consideration following accusations of domestic abuse.

"The policy that I have communicated to my counterpart, if confirmed, (Turkey's) defense minister is that you can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35, you cannot have both", said Army Secretary Mark Esper, testifying at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

During Tuesday's hearing, Warren continued to push Esper to agree to extending his recusal commitment beyond November, which would prohibit him from participating in any decisions related to Raytheon until he is no longer defense secretary. This article is strictly for informational purposes only.

Warren said Esper wasn't willing to avoid conflicts of interest, grumbling, "this is outrageous", as her questioning session concluded.

"This is outrageous", Warren said. Warren, a candidate for her party's 2020 presidential nomination and the only member of the committee to voice opposition to Esper's confirmation, repeatedly interrupted him as he tried to explain his position. Elizabeth Warren of MA, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, sparred with Esper on his ties to the Massachusetts-based defense giant and implored the nominee to recuse himself from any decisions affecting the firm, which he declined to do.

Seeking to rebut Warren's remarks, Esper also said he had never been accused of corruption in his life. Spencer, a Wall Street financier and former Marine aviator, is the third acting defense secretary to lead the building this year.

"We will reform the department, beginning with the Fourth Estate", Esper said, citing the group of support agencies not directly involved in warfighting, such as the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency. "I mean, there's no waivers, nothing outside of law, everything that he's required to do by law". One example is Turkey. Pentagon officials have said Turkey was offered favorable terms to buy a US -made air defense system, the Patriot, but turned it down in favor of the Russian system despite strong USA objections.

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"It is very disheartening to see how they have drifted over the past several years", Esper said, citing the Turkish government's purchase of the S-400 air defense system that the Trump administration has said is likely to trigger us economic sanctions and jeopardize Turkey's role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, whose primary adversary is Russian Federation.

Warren pushed further, asking whether Esper would commit not to work for or be paid by a defense contractor for at least four years after he leaves government service.

Some panel members rallied to his defense.

Florida Republican Rick Scott took a harder line in his criticism of Warren, accusing her of "needing a moment for her presidential campaign".

Aged 55, he was a graduate of West Point and served combat roles in the Gulf War.

"We could actually get it done this week", Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe, 0f Oklahoma, said of Esper's confirmation.

"So no, I disagree with you".

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