President Donald Trump’s latest pick to take over as defense secretary will get his Senate confirmation hearing this week — if the White House gets its paperwork in on time.
As of Sunday, administration officials still hadn’t filed all of the needed paperwork for Mark Esper’s confirmation hearing, scheduled for Tuesday. Esper became Trump’s pick to lead the Pentagon after his previous choice, then acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, withdrew from the process last month.
Senate Armed Services Committee members have already agreed to waive the normal seven-day wait between the paperwork filing and the hearing date, but the White House will still need to get it filed on Monday to keep the hearing on schedule.
Senate leaders (and a Pentagon officials) hope to have the nomination finalized before the start of the August congressional recess. The Pentagon has been without a permanent leader since Jan. 1, the longest stretch since the head of the Department of Defense became a Cabinet position.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.