President Trump's decision to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday raised concerns that he may be planning far-reaching military moves in his final weeks in office - and is putting in place new leadership more inclined to go along. In an interview with Military Times after the November 3 election, and referring to his expected firing, Esper said: "Who's going to come in behind me?"
In August, Trump referred to Esper at a press conference as "Mark 'Yesper, '" before hinting that he may not be long for the job.
Before joining the Trump administration, Esper was the vice president for government relations at Raytheon, a major US defense contractor.
Esper pushed back against criticisms that he did not stand up to many of Trump's capricious national security edicts.
"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".
There's no indication at this point whether Tata will have the time or capacity to make a real difference in USA defense policy during the 71 days that remain in Trump's presidential term.
Esper had reportedly already written his letter of resignation ahead of Tuesday's election, but according to Politico, an "increasing number of defense establishment figures" had been asking him to stick around to ensure a peaceful transition.
New defence chief Christopher Miller
Esper ascended to the position July 23, 2019 after the department waited seven months for an official nomination following the resignation of Jim Mattis on December 20, 2018.
"The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations".
The former defence secretary reportedly helped members of Congress to draft legislation that would remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases in the U.S. - an issue that came to light again during this year's Black Lives Matter protests. Vindman testified that he was prevented from briefing Trump on Zelensky's inauguration because Trump apparently believed Patel was the NSC's top Ukraine official.
"It has always been clear that President Trump cares about loyalty above all else, often at the expense of competence, and during a period of presidential transition competence in government is of the utmost importance", Smith added. The fact that one of Trump's Cabinet officials would literally say "God help us" about a situation in which we now find ourselves should send shock waves through our body politic. Mr Miller also brought in his own chief of staff in Kash Patel, who, like Mr Cohen-Watnick, is considered staunchly loyal to Mr Trump and previously worked at the National Security Council.
"It is hard to overstate just how unsafe high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition", he said in a statement.
Prior to that, he was a deputy assistant secretary of defense of special operations forces in counterterrorism. Frankly, he should have fired Esper months ago, and it's possible he meant to do so, and with the demands of the election simply didn't get around to it until the campaign was over.
Armenia surrenders, Russian Federation deploys troops after ceasefire deal announced
The helicopter was downed near the border with Nakhcivan, an exclave of Azerbaijan surrounded by Armenia, Turkey and Iran. A third person was injured and evacuated, the ministry said in a statement, and a probe at the Russian base is under way.