Mark Esper

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Trump Fires Defense Secretary

Mark Esper 'has been terminated'

(Newser) - In what could be the start of a wave of post-election firings, President Trump announced in a tweet Monday that Defense Secretary Mark Esper "has been terminated." The president said National Counterterrorism Director Christopher Miller will become acting defense secretary effective immediately. The Hill notes that Trump and... More »

Congress May Make Exception to Honor an Iraqi War Hero

Alwyn Cashe died after pulling others from burning vehicle in Iraq

(Newser) - Fifteen years after his act of heroism in Iraq, time has officially run out to posthumously award Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor. But the Defense Department hopes to make that happen anyway, assuming Congress grants a waiver of the five-year time limit, the Washington Post reports.... More »

Trump on Germany: We're Done Being 'Suckers'

Mark Esper announces 11.9K troops will withdraw from Germany

(Newser) - The US will be pulling almost 12,000 troops from Germany, with a bit more than half of them—6,400—set to return stateside. The announcement came Wednesday from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said the remaining 5,600 troops withdrawing from Germany will be spread elsewhere throughout Europe,... More »

Pentagon Bans Confederate Flag, but Not in a Typical Way

New policy lists what flags can be shown at military installations, not which ones can't

(Newser) - After weeks of wrangling, the Pentagon on Friday will ban displays of the Confederate flag on military installations, in a carefully worded policy that doesn't mention the word "ban" or that specific flag. The policy, laid out in a memo obtained by the AP , was described by officials... More »

Branches Pressure Esper for Confederate Flag Ban

It's the US flag that's placed on coffins, draft policy says

(Newser) - A draft policy circulated by Pentagon leaders would ban the display of the Confederate flag in Defense Department workplaces or public areas by service members and civilian personnel. If approved, the policy would bring the other military services in line with the Marine Corps, which banned Confederate displays on its... More »

Pentagon Takes Steps Toward Racial Equity in the Services

Esper wants military to recapture leadership on diversity

(Newser) - Recognizing the harm of systemic racism to individuals and the military, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has announced an effort to ensure equity for US service members. Esper made the announcement Thursday in a video, the Washington Post reports, saying the military is "not immune to the forces of bias... More »

Top US General Apologizes for This Image

Mark Milley, joint chiefs chairman, says he shouldn't have walked with Trump

(Newser) - The fallout from President Trump's now-famous walk from the White House to St. John's Church continues: On Thursday, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff apologized for joining the president on that June 1 walk in military fatigues, reports CNN . "I should not have been there,... More »

Another Big Shift After Floyd Death, This Time From Military

Army 'open' to conversation about renaming bases named for Confederate leaders

(Newser) - The death of George Floyd in police custody and the ensuing protests are sparking changes in law enforcement, media, and business—and now the US armed forces. Earlier this year, the US Army said it had no plans to scrap the names of any of its 10 bases named after... More »

Esper Disagrees With Trump on Use of Insurrection Act

Defense chief says situation isn't dire enough

(Newser) - Breaking with President Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing current street protests. Esper said the Insurrection Act, which would allow Trump to use active-duty military for law enforcement in containing street protests, should be invoked in the United States... More »

Navy Wants to Reinstate Carrier's Captain

Brett Crozier was removed over handling of coronavirus outbreak

(Newser) - After an investigation, the Navy has decided it wants Capt. Brett Crozier, back in charge of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The recommendation to reinstate the captain, who was fired over his response to a coronavirus outbreak on his aircraft carrier, is under review at the Pentagon, and would have to... More »

Cost of Ex-Navy Secretary's Trip to Guam: $243K

Modly reportedly flew at a cost of $7K an hour

(Newser) - Former acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's trip to Guam to lecture sailors who gave a roaring sendoff to their fired captain cost taxpayers a whopping $243,151.65. Modly, who resigned Tuesday , flew 35 hours on a C-37B at a cost of $6,946.19 per hour, USA ... More »

Navy Captain Relieved of Duty Has Coronavirus

Capt. Brett E. Crozier removed from command after asking for help with outbreak

(Newser) - The US Navy captain removed from command after he asked the Navy for help with the coronavirus outbreak on board his warship has now tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell the New York Times . Capt. Brett Crozier, who ended up getting assistance from Guam , came down with symptoms before he... More »

Number of Troops With Brain Injuries Climbs Again

Trump now is 'very concerned,' defense secretary says

(Newser) - About 200 US military personnel who were in the blast zone when Iranian missiles hit an Iraqi base early this month have now been screened. Of those, 64 have been diagnosed as having mild traumatic brain injury— up from 50 earlier this week, CNN reports. That number could increase again;... More »

Amazon to File for Restraining Order in Microsoft-DOD Deal

Former says latter was only awarded $10B contract after 'behind-the-scenes attacks' from Trump

(Newser) - Amazon has long been suspicious that it lost out to Microsoft on a lucrative $10 billion cloud computing deal with the US military only because of President Trump's intervention, and now Jeff Bezos' behemoth has taken its latest step to stymie the latter from proceeding with that project. CNN... More »

Defense Sec. 'Didn't See' Rationale for Trump's Big Move

And other quotes around the Sunday dial

(Newser) - Was there a rationale for killing Iran's top general? Defense Secretary Mark Esper seemed to convey mixed messages Sunday on that hot-button topic, the New York Times reports. On CBS' Face the Nation, Esper cast some doubt on President Trump's claim that he ordered Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani'... More »

Defense Chief Appears at Odds With Trump on Cultural Sites

Esper says they would not be targeted in Iran under 'laws of armed conflict'

(Newser) - President Trump has threatened to hit sites important to Iranian culture "VERY FAST AND VERY HARD" if the country retaliates for the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani—but the Pentagon is not backing him up. Defense Secretary Mark Esper ruled out striking Iranian cultural sites Monday, saying, "We... More »

Pentagon Denies Withdrawal, Blames 'Poorly Written' Letter

US is just repositioning troops, Milley says

(Newser) - Top Pentagon leaders said Monday that the US has no plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, despite a draft letter from a senior military officer that appeared to suggest a withdrawal was being planned. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the US is "... More »

Judge Rules Against Trump Administration in Border Wall Case

Federal judge says $3.6B in Pentagon funds can't be diverted to wall construction

(Newser) - The secretary of defense in September authorized the diverting of $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to build the border wall, but on Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Trump administration from doing that, CNN reports. El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights had sued... More »

Thousands More US Troops Could Be Sent to Middle East

Esper 'intends to make changes' to counter Iran, official says

(Newser) - The Pentagon is considering sending several thousand additional troops to the Middle East to deter Iranian aggression, amid reports of escalating violence in Iran and continued meddling by Tehran in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the region. John Rood, defense undersecretary for policy, told senators Thursday that Defense Secretary... More »

Defense Chief 'Flabbergasted' by Navy Leader on SEAL Case

Mark Esper also confirms that Trump ordered him to protect SEAL Edward Gallagher

(Newser) - The saga of the newly ousted Navy commander and a Navy SEAL continues to unfold. On Monday, defense chief Mark Esper revealed that President Trump ordered him to make sure Edward Gallagher was allowed to retire as a SEAL with full benefits, reports the Hill . "I spoke with the... More »

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