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Mark Thomas Esper is an American politician and corporate executive serving as the 23rd and current United States Secretary of the Army since 2017. Prior to his current position, he served as vice president of government relations at Raytheon.[2]

Mark Esper
Mark T. Esper.jpg
23rd United States Secretary of the Army
Assumed office
November 20, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyRyan McCarthy
Preceded byRyan McCarthy (Acting)
Personal details
Born1963/1964 (age 54–55)[1]
Political partyRepublican
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Harvard University (MPA)
George Washington University (PhD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
RankUS-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Unit101st Airborne Division
Battles/warsGulf War
Awards Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
DoD Medal for Distinguished Public Service



Esper graduated from Laurel Highlands High School in 1982.[3] He received his Bachelor of Science in engineering from the United States Military Academy in 1986. Esper was a Dean's List student at West Point and recipient of the Douglas MacArthur Award for Leadership.[4] He received a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1995 and a Doctor of Philosophy from George Washington University in 2008.[5]


Esper served as an Infantry Officer with the 101st Airborne Division and deployed with the "Screaming Eagles" for the 1990-91 Gulf War. His battalion was part of the famous "left hook" that led to the defeat of the Iraqi Army. For his actions, Esper was awarded a Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and various service medals.[4] He later led an Airborne Rifle Company in Europe and served as an Army Fellow at the Pentagon.[3] Esper was on active duty for over ten years before transitioning to the District of Columbia Army National Guard and later the Army Reserve, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[6]

Esper was chief of staff at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, from 1996-1998.[7] From 1998 to 2002, Esper served as a senior professional staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. He was also a senior policy advisor and legislative director for U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.[8] He was policy director for the House Armed Services Committee from 2001 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004, Esper served in the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy, where he was responsible for a broad range of nonproliferation, arms control, and international security issues. He was Director for National Security Affairs for the U.S. Senate under Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from 2004 to 2006.

Esper was executive vice president at the Aerospace Industries Association in 2006 and 2007. From September 2007 to February 2008, Esper served as national policy director to Senator Fred Thompson in his 2008 presidential campaign. From 2008 to 2010, Esper served as executive vice president of the Global Intellectual Property Center and vice president for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was hired as vice president of government relations at defense contractor Raytheon in July 2010. Esper was recognized as a top corporate lobbyist by The Hill in 2015[9] and 2016.[10]

President Trump announced his intention to nominate Esper as United States Secretary of the Army on July 19, 2017.[11] He was Trump's third nominee for the position, following the withdrawals of Vincent Viola and Mark E. Green.[12] He was confirmed to this post by an 89–6 vote of the U.S. Senate on November 15, 2017[13] and sworn in on November 20, 2017.


  1. ^ "Trump nominating Uniontown native for Army secretary | Local News". August 17, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  2. ^ "Raytheon Names Mark T. Esper Vice President of Government Relations". Raytheon. July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Basinger, Rachel (August 31, 2013). "Laurel Highlands to honor Hall of Fame inductees". TribLIVE.
  4. ^ a b Ekas, Cindy (September 7, 2017). "Laurel Highlands lauds alumni's achievements". Trib Live. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Hubler, David (July 16, 2010). "Raytheon adds defense expert to lead government relations unit". Washington Technology.
  6. ^ Shane III, Leo (July 19, 2017). "Trump to nominate Raytheon VP, Gulf War vet as next Army secretary". Military Times.
  7. ^ "U.S. Chamber Bolsters Its Europe-Eurasia Team". U.S. Chamber of Commerce. November 20, 2008.
  8. ^ "Raytheon Names Mark T. Esper Vice President of Government Relations". Raytheon. July 16, 2010.
  9. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (October 29, 2015). "Top Lobbyists 2015: Corporate". The Hill.
  10. ^ Dickson, Rebecca (October 26, 2016). "Top Lobbyists 2016: Corporate". The Hill.
  11. ^ McIntyre, Jamie (July 19, 2017). "Exclusive: Trump to nominate Mark Esper as Army secretary". Washington Examiner.
  12. ^ Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Jaffe, Greg (July 19, 2017). "Trump to nominate Raytheon lobbyist for next Army secretary". Washington Post.
  13. ^ "PN811 — Mark T. Esper — Department of Defense". U.S. Congress. November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Eric Fanning
United States Secretary of the Army