Pentagon shakeup means no Army photo-op for McSally, Sinema
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Pentagon shakeup means no Army photo-op for McSally, Sinema

Officials abruptly cancelled a planned press conference featuring Army Secretary Mark Esper and U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally scheduled at a Tucson resort after the acting defense secretary suddenly resigned and Esper was named the Pentagon's new acting chief. 

The press conference, set for Friday morning at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass resort, was to feature Esper talking about military recruiting and Army programs with state and local leaders, including Arizona's pair of U.S. senators.

Esper was tapped by President Donald Trump this week to lead the Defense Department after Patrick M. Shanahan withdrew his nomination to lead the Pentagon. Shanahan had been the acting secretary of Defense since Jim Mattis resigned from the job in December. 

As with many major moves in the Trump administration, Shanahan leaving was announced by the president on Twitter, and Trump said that Esper was going to take over. 

"Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has done a wonderful job, has decided not to go forward with his confirmation process so that he can devote more time to his family," Trump wrote. 

As for Esper, Trump said, "I know Mark, and have no doubt he will do a fantastic job!" 

A graduate of West Point, Esper served in the Persian Gulf War with the 101st Airborne Division, and later he lead an airborne rifle company in Europe. After several positions as an advisor and staff member with the House Armed Services committee and the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he worked for the Aerospace Industries Association, and then worked as a executive at Raytheon for seven years. 

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