The White House announced President Trump will nominate Secretary of the Army Mark Esper as the new Secretary of Defense on Friday, Politico reports. Esper, a gulf war veteran and former Raytheon lobbyist, would be entering the administration after rising tensions between U.S. and Iran nearly came to a head Thursday evening. Trump claimed Friday that he called off planned attacks against Iranian “radar and missile sites” over concerns about casualties. The proposed strikes were in response to the country shooting down a U.S. military drone earlier this week.
Former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew his nomination after reports emerged of domestic violence within his family. Esper would succeed ex-Secretary Jim Mattis, who he left the administration after disagreements on pulling troops out of Syria. According to The New York Times, Undersecretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy will replace Esper in his current role.