WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement after President Trump announced that current Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, would take over as Acting Secretary of Defense:

“I am encouraged that the newly appointed Acting Secretary, Mark Esper, has a track record of public service both as a soldier and in government.  Our national defense needs a confirmed Secretary of Defense as soon as possible.  We face a number of extremely complicated challenges around the globe and it is in our best interest as a country to have stable, predictable leadership at the Pentagon capable of withstanding internal political pressure.  

“If confirmed, I am confident that Secretary Esper is capable of executing the national defense strategy in a way that is insulated from outside influence and political considerations.  I have known Esper for years, both as a staff member on the Hill and in private industry, and believe the Department would benefit from his leadership.  I look forward to our continued work together.”