- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2019

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took over Monday afternoon as acting defense secretary, Pentagon officials said, with the brief leadership change expected to last no more than several weeks.

Mr. Spencer takes the helm at the Defense Department as Mark Esper, who formerly served as Army secretary and as a top aide on Capitol Hill, moves through Senate confirmation. President Trump formally nominated Mr. Esper to be his next defense chief last month and installed him in an acting capacity, but federal law requires that he resign as he undergoes the confirmation process.

Mr. Spencer formally took over the job just after 3 p.m. Monday.

“While my time in this role is anticipated to be brief, I am fully prepared and committed to serve as acting secretary of defense, and I will provide continuity in the leadership of the department,” Mr. Spencer said in a statement. “Our allies and partners can rest assured that the Department of Defense remains ready to respond to meet our commitments around the globe in support of our common goals.”

Mr. Esper’s confirmation hearings begin Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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