Esper’s confirmation, which is highly likely, will end the longest period in which the Pentagon has lacked a permanent secretary. The leadership vacuum in the Defense Department is of increasing concern to Congress and to Washington’s defence community, with some concerns that this gap is a greater risk than that posed by US adversaries China, Iran and North Korea.
- If confirmed, Esper will likely help navigate towards agreeing this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
- Esper will face calls to introduce more permanency and transparency to the Defense Department.
- A permanent defense secretary would be better able to command Congress’s attention and conduct diplomacy.