New Pentagon leadership to be in hands of Senate soon

In this July 8, 2019, photo, acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper waits for the arrival of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the Pentagon. The Pentagon says that Esper expects to be formally nominated for the top job very soon, setting off a complicated leadership replacement shuffle at top Army, Navy and senior Defense Department levels. | Photo Source: AP Photo / Susan Walsh
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to soon be formally nominated to lead the Pentagon, setting off a complicated leadership replacement shuffle at the highest levels of the American military.

Esper's chief of staff, Eric Chewning, told reporters Tuesday that the Senate controls the timing for a hearing and vote on the nomination. But, he said Esper could be confirmed within a week.

Esper's nomination will set off a domino effect in the Defense Department. Esper will have to step down because he can't serve in the position for which he's been nominated. He will return to his former job as Army secretary.

Because there is no confirmed deputy defense secretary, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer would step in as defense chief.

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