On Monday, President Trump announced on Twitter that he fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. The president said Esper will be replaced by National Counterterrorism Center Director Christoper Miller, who will serve as the acting Pentagon chief.
“I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately,” Trump wrote. “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”
Trump’s announcement came after reports in the media said Esper was preparing his resignation, although the Pentagon denied those reports. Esper and Trump were said to have been butting heads over a few issues, most notably when Esper spoke out against invoking the Insurrection Act to quell civil unrest that broke out after the killing of George Floyd, although Esper had previously referred to protests as “battlespace” that governors had to “dominate.”
When it comes to foreign policy, Esper, a former Raytheon lobbyist, has pushed for more military spending to face Russia and China, an increased military presence in the Pacific, and has promoted a plan to add hundreds of ships to the fleet of the US Navy.
Esper has been working on completing President Trump’s plan to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany. Trump has said the move was due to Germany’s lack of defense spending, while Esper framed the pullout as a repositioning of resources to counter Russia.