Sen. Tom Carper, senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement July 23 after Mark Esper was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Defense by a vote of 90-8.

“For nearly seven months now, the Department of Defense has been without a Senate-confirmed secretary — the longest that post has ever remained vacant,” said Carper. “No agency should be without permanent leadership for that long, let alone the world’s largest employer. What’s even more troubling is that this vacancy has coincided with the absence of any kind of clear strategy from this administration to deal with the many security challenges we are facing around the world. As President Trump freely elevates the North Korean dictator to no avail, some of his closest advisors continue to escalate tensions with and push for military action against Iran. Our country, and those who bravely serve it, do not need more chaos and threats. We need a coherent strategy. I am hopeful that, with a confirmed secretary in place, our military and civilian leaders at the Pentagon will have an advocate who can provide thoughtful, steady leadership and appropriate consultation with Congress when it comes to threats to our national security.”

“As a soldier, former Senate staffer and, most recently, secretary of the Army, Secretary Esper has the experience and qualifications necessary to lead the men and women at the Department of Defense and our servicemembers around the globe,” said Carper. “I look forward to meeting with the new secretary and working with him to ensure our troops and their families have the resources they need and that the department redoubles its efforts to root out waste, fraud and abuse across the agency.”