Dr. Mark T. Esper

The Honorable Mark T. Esper joined the Chertoff Group as a Senior Advisor in July 2023. Dr. Esper served as the 27th Secretary of Defense in 2019 and 2020. He previously served as Secretary of the Army.

Before being nominated as the Secretary of the Army in 2017, Dr. Esper was the Vice President for Government Relations at the Raytheon Company. Dr. Esper was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Defense and International Affairs at Aerospace Industries Association. was a Senate-appointed commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He later served concurrently as the Executive Vice President for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce‚Äôs Global Intellectual Property Center and as Vice President for Europe and Eurasian Affairs from 2008-2010.

Earlier in his career Dr. Esper served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation think tank, followed by service as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. During the President George W. Bush administration, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon.

Dr. Esper is a recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Among his many military awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Esper was born on April 26, 1964, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. He is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University. Dr. Esper and his wife, Leah, have been married for 30+ years and have three adult children.

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