Trump appoints Marc Esper as defense ministerBy Rudao one hour ago
US President Donald Trump has appointed Mark Esper as defense minister, a position the former officer has held since Tuesday, the White House said Friday.
Esper's installation comes at the head of the Pentagon hours after Trump announced that he had ordered a military strike on Iran and canceled it minutes before it was carried out, after Iran dropped a US airliner last Thursday.
Esper, 55, replaces Patrick Chanahan, who replaced James Matisse after the latter resigned in December over the sudden decision by Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria.
Unlike Shanahan, Esper, who served in the US Army during the 1991 Gulf War in the 101 Airborne unit, has long experience. For seven years, he was in charge of the executive management of Raytheon Defense Industries before Trump was appointed as a minister of the ground forces.
TRP chose Esper after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Chanahan decided to abandon the mechanism for his appointment as an original defense minister over questions about his personal history and domestic violence information.
The appointment of Esper as an original defense minister ahead of his planned trip to Brussels to attend the meeting of NATO defense ministers on June 26 and 27, also comes as tensions between the United States and Iran.
Trump said on Friday that the United States was ready to strike Iran, but retreated at the last minute because it would have been a "disproportionate" response to Tehran dropping a US reconnaissance plane.
Tehran says the plane penetrated its airspace while the United States denies it, but its downfall has raised tension between the two countries after a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, which Washington accused Tehran of being behind.
Esper is the third person to fill this position in just six months, and his appointment still needs approval by the Senate.
European allies are not comfortable with President Donald Trump's isolationist policies and his persistent criticism of alliances.