On his third and (hopefully) final attempt to name an Army Secretary, President Donald Trump has selected Raytheon executive, Mark Esper. A lobbyist for the defense industry, Esper follows billionaire Vincent Viola, who withdrew due to financial entanglements, and Mark Greene, the army veteran, doctor and Tea Party rising star from Tennessee; both candidates that would stymie the Senate approval process.
But with Liberals being so dramatic these days, with tales of death and pestilence, while log-jamming President Trump’s agenda, and conservatives sniping at one another, what’s a guy to do to get the job done? Go with a Washington insider that the Swamp dwellers won’t devour at happy hour.
Mark Esper has an impressive resume; a West Point grad, he served in the Gulf war, rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army before beginning a storied civilian career:
After his Army career, Esper worked as a Pentagon civilian, a Hill staffer, a thinktanker, an executive VP at two trade associations, and, most recently, as a lobbyist for a big defense contractor. He even holds degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (a master’s) and from George Washington University in D.C.
And, he knows his way around the Hill and the Pentagon having served as an aide to both Senator Chuck Hagel (R-N) and Senator Bill Frist (R-TN):
Esper was director of National Security Affairs for Senate Majority Leader Frist, and also served as the legislative director and senior policy adviser for Hagel, who went on to become secretary of defense.
From 2002 to 2004, Esper was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy, responsible for arms control, nonproliferation, international agreements and matters with the United Nations.
But he is also a likable guy and has jokingly played the straight man to wisecracking General Mark Milley, the current chief of staff of the Army. Where Milley is a big hulk of a man, with a commanding voice and presence, Esper is soft spoken and unassuming. It a character trait that will open more doors than close; which may be just what Trump needs as he navigates the perilous waters of the Swamp.
Facing a cramped Senate schedule, potential recess, and a slow confirmation process, it will likely be September for we can check another Trump appointee off the list. Maybe the third time is a charm, and Esper will hit the ground running, having already the smarts and inside information to know where the break rooms and bathrooms are at the Pentagon. Oh, one more thing that I almost forgot; Esper has absolutely no back channels to Kremlin, Putin or Russian salad dressing. C’mon, Senators, get a move on already!
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