Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense

Mark Esper

Secretary of Defense

Mark Thomas Esper was born in April 1964 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He earned an undergraduate degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy, and received a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He earned a Ph.D. from George Washington University.

Esper was an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division and deployed with them in the Gulf War. After ten years, he transitioned to the District of Columbia Army National Guard and later the Army Reserve, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He was chief of staff at the Heritage Foundation for two years, then served as a senior professional staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. He served in the George W. Bush administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy.

Esper was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the United States Secretary of the Army. He was confirmed by the Senate and took his position in November 2017. In June 2019, President Trump announced his appointment of Esper as Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense. He was later nominated by the president to be the Secretary of Defense, confirmed by the Senate in a 90-8 vote, and assumed his office in July 2019.

He is married to Leah Lacy and they have three children.

In the News…

The Defense Department is the biggest of nearly a dozen federal agencies that are warning the pending Federal Communications Commission decision on GPS could have dire consequences for national security.

At issue is a preliminary FCC vote last week that would allow Ligado Networks to access a portion of L-band electromagnetic spectrum for a nationwide low-power 5G network which the Pentagon fears will interfere with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) signals.

“The Department continues to support domestic 5G operations, but not at the risk of crippling our GPS networks,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.

“Americans rely on our Global Positioning System each day for many things to locate citizens in need of emergency assistance through our E 911 system, to secure our financial system, to order and receive shipments, to travel by car for work and leisure, to facilitate commercial trucking and construction work, and even to make a simple telephone call,” the Department of Defense and Treasury Department said in a joint statement. “Our Departments rely on GPS each day for all those reasons as well as to coordinate tactical national security operations, launch spacecraft, track threats, and facilitate travel by air and sea. The proposed Ligado decision by the Federal Communications Commission will put all these uses of GPS at risk.”

Ligado Networks is an American satellite communications company.


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