The White House will announce this week that Mark Esper will be President Trump's nominee to be secretary of the Army, an administration official tells the Washington Examiner.
Esper is a West Point graduate, former aide to Sens. Chuck Hagel and Bill Frist, and a Raytheon executive. His pending nomination follows the withdrawal of two previous nominees to be the Army's top civilian: billionaire Vincent Viola and Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green.
Pentagon officials privately expressed confidence that Esper, with his military, Pentagon and Capitol Hill experience, will win quick Senate confirmation.
He serves as Raytheon's vice president of government relations.
According to his Raytheon biography, Esper was a distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy and retired as lieutenant colonel in a career that included a combat tour in Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
He's held a variety of senior positions government and private industry, including U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Aerospace Industries Association and the Heritage Foundation.
Esper was director of National Security Affairs for Senate Majority Leader Frist, and also served as the legislative director and senior policy adviser for Hagel, who went on to become secretary of defense.
From 2002 to 2004, Esper was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy, responsible for arms control, nonproliferation, international agreements and matters with the United Nations.
Esper holds a master's of public administration degree from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate from The George Washington University.
His nomination comes more than a month since the nomination of Ryan McCarthy to be Army undersecretary. McCarthy, who was an Army Ranger. recently served as vice president of the Sustainment Program for the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin. If both are confirmed, the top two positions in the Army Department will be held by former soldiers who became defense industry leaders.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is the only one of the three service secretaries who has been confirmed. Richard V. Spencer sailed through his nomination hearing on July 11 and is awaiting a committee vote.