Pentagon gets new Acting Secretary

Pentagon gets new Acting Secretary

"You can't make those commitments to this committee".

For much of Esper's confirmation hearing, lawmakers focused on areas where he largely agrees with Mattis, who was widely popular on Capitol Hill, and the administration: the National Defense Strategy's focus on Russian Federation and China, the need for a $750 billion defense budget in fiscal 2020, and finding ways to deescalate tensions with Iran. Esper laid out the issue in stark terms, saying, AI "will likely dominate the character of warfare". "You insist on being free to seek a waiver that would let you make decisions affecting Raytheon's bottom line and your remaining financial interest".

"This smacks of corruption, plain and simple", charged the MA senator, who has been critical of Esper's corporate ties in the past. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, the committee's chairman, took the unusual step of apologizing to Esper on behalf of the committee. She said that work raised questions about conflicts of interest.

He asked Esper: "Have you ever been accused of corruption?"

"I guess she just needed a moment for her presidential campaign", Scott said of Warren, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Esper shot back, arguing he has lived an "ethical life" and is committed to the nation's security. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat who has served in the Congress since 1991. "I think [your] presumption is that anyone who comes from the business or the corporate world is corrupt".

Reed also stressed that it is critical for Esper to end the constant reshuffle of top Pentagon leadership that has taken place since Mattis left.

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The White House has formally nominated Mark Esper as the new Secretary of Defence as it struggles to fill the top Pentagon post that has been vacant for over six months.

The Republican-led Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Esper on Tuesday.

He backed keeping the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility open; opposed changing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks; and supported keeping active-duty and National Guard troops on the southern border to aid Customs and Border Protection agents.

"Acquisition of the S-400 fundamentally undermines the capabilities of the F-35 and our ability to retain that over-match in the skies going forward", he added.

"It is very disheartening to see how they have drifted over the past several years", Esper said, citing the Turkish government's purchase of the S-400 air defense system that the Trump administration has said is likely to trigger us economic sanctions and jeopardize Turkey's role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, whose primary adversary is Russian Federation.

"The policy that I have communicated to my counterpart, if confirmed, (Turkey's) defense minister is that you can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35, you cannot have both", said Army Secretary Mark Esper, testifying at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We have to. Because whoever gets there first will dominate for many years".

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