President Trump had announced Tuesday that Shanahan was withdrawing from consideration for a permanent appointment to lead the Pentagon because of family matters. In that same message, the president revealed that Esper was his choice to succeed Shanahan.
“I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!,” the president wrote.
Esper has been secretary of the Army since November 2017. He served in the Gulf War, worked on Capitol Hill and has been a lobbyist for Raytheon, a defense contractor. His Washington experience far outweighs that of Shanahan, who was a Boeing executive.