The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Mark Esper as defense secretary, and he was later sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito during a ceremony in the Oval Office. Esper received bipartisan support as lawmakers largely hope to restore leadership at the Pentagon amid rising tensions with Iran. Esper previously served as acting secretary of defense; he stepped into the secretary role last month after Patrick Shanahan departed amid reports of domestic violence within his family. The department has not had a Senate-confirmed leader since James Mattis resigned in December. Esper, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran, has served as a top civilian Pentagon official, a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, and an adviser to Republican lawmakers.
need to know now