Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a memo on Monday stated that despite the sudden shift in power, Pentagon “priorities remain unchanged.”
Esper, who is the former Army Secretary, in his first address to the Department of Defense (DOD) personnel since taking on his new role early Monday morning, pointed to the administration’s National Security Strategy as the DOD roadmap, The Hill reports.
“As we continue to advance the Nation’s security, let me reaffirm our path forward,” Esper wrote in the memo. “The National Security Strategy remains our guiding document, and everything we do should support its stated objectives. The Department’s priorities remain unchanged.”
Esper laid out three main objectives in his letter, including building a more lethal force, strengthening alliances and attracting new partners, and reforming internal DOD practices “for greater performance and affordability.”
Esper called on top leaders in the building to continue “those values and behavior that represent the best of the military profession and mark the character and integrity of the Armed Forces that the American people admire.”
The White House on Friday night announced that President Trump intends to nominate Esper to permanently lead the Pentagon after Patrick Shanahan — who led the Pentagon in an acting capacity since January — on Tuesday withdrew from consideration and announced his resignation after reports emerged about a year-old incident of domestic violence.
Esper, a West Point graduate who previously served as a Senate aide and a top executive at Raytheon, joined the Trump administration in 2017. He would be Trump’s second permanent Defense secretary if confirmed by the Senate, after James Mattis.