WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper to serve as Secretary of Defense:

“Our national defense strategy requires strong, stable leadership and after seven long months the Pentagon finally has a confirmed Secretary of Defense.  The complex challenges that we face around the globe are too serious for key positions at the Department of Defense to remain transient.  Instead, our country needs predictable leadership at the Pentagon, capable of withstanding internal political pressure in what has been a historically turbulent administration.

“It is encouraging that the nominee confirmed today, Secretary Esper, has a track record of public service as a soldier and in government.  I remain optimistic that Secretary Esper will be able to effectively leverage his decades of experience in national security to execute the national defense strategy in a way that is consistent with American values and insulated from outside influence and political considerations.”