President Donald Trump said Tuesday that "there's no one more qualified to lead the department" than Esper. He called Esper "outstanding in every way." Esper is a former secretary of the Army who also has worked as a defense industry lobbyist. He won Senate confirmation earlier Tuesday by a vote of 90-8.
The turmoil atop the Pentagon began when Trump's first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, stepped down last New Year's Eve after a series of policy disputes with Trump. Esper has told lawmakers that one of his first priorities would be to address leadership vacancies at the Pentagon.
The Senate has confirmed Army veteran and former defense industry lobbyist Mark Esper as secretary of defense.
Esper's confirmation ends a stretch of seven months the Pentagon didn't have a permanent leader.
Esper won Senate confirmation on Tuesday by a vote of 90-8 and is to be sworn in by day's end.
The Pentagon had been without a permanent boss since Jim Mattis stepped down last New Year's Eve. Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan became the acting secretary, but after six months as the fill-in the former Boeing executive abruptly quit.
Esper then became the acting secretary, but once he was nominated last week he had to step aside until a Senate vote.
For the past week the Pentagon has been run by yet another fill-in, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.