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Mark Esper Named New Acting Defense Secretary As Shanahan Quits


US President Donald Trump named Mark Esper to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense after incumbent Patrick M. Shanahan informed him of his intention to resign from the top defense post.

Esper, 56, has experience serving in the first Iraq war.

The news was broken by the President in a tweet Tuesday: "Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family."

Thanking Shanahan for his outstanding service, Trump said he has no doubt his successor will do "a fantastic job."

Mark Esper, an army veteran, is currently serving as Secretary of the Army.

Shanahan is quitting amid allegations of domestic violence against him.

Trump said he didn't ask Shanahan to withdraw his resignation. "He walked in this morning and said it was going to be a rough time for him," he told reporters.

Earlier, Shanahan said in a statement that he had asked to be withdrawn from the confirmation process for Secretary of Defense, and that he will resign as Deputy Secretary of Defense.

"After having been confirmed for Deputy Secretary less than two years ago, it is unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up and painted in an incomplete and therefore misleading way in the course of this process. I believe my continuing in the confirmation process would force my three children to relive a traumatic chapter in our family's life and reopen wounds we have worked years to heal," the statement added.

The latest developments mean the United States will continue to be without a confirmed Secretary of Defense.

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