21:53 GMT +315 October 2019
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    23rd Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, left, inspects the troop at Conmy Hall, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, during a full honor arrival ceremony in his honor. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    Incoming Pentagon Chief to Attend NATO Ministerial Meeting Next Week - DoD

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Incoming US Acting Defence Secretary Mark Esper will travel to Brussels next week to discuss burden sharing and American commitments with NATO counterparts, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a news release.

    "He [Esper] will travel to the NATO Defence Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium, later that week. The focus of his meetings will be reinforcing the US commitment to strengthening the NATO Alliance, ensuring more equitable burden sharing, bolstering NATO readiness and addressing regional security issues", Hoffman said on Wednesday.

    US President Donald Trump said in a Tuesday statement that Army Secretary Mark Esper had been nominated to take over as US Secretary of Defense after the acting secretary, Patrick Shanahan, withdrew his nomination and resigned effective 23 June.

    Shanahan withdrew his nomination following published reports of a 2010 domestic violence incident involving himself and his former wife.

    In later remarks, Shanahan said in response to his resignation that this "deeply personal family situation" has been depicted by observers in an incomplete and misleading way. He added that going through the confirmation process would have forced his family to relive a "traumatic chapter" in their lives and reopen wounds that he says took years to heal.

    The Defence Department has said in a press release that Shanahan and Esper have begun transition planning.

    Esper previously worked as a vice president for government relations at the Raytheon Company and is an Army, Defence Department, and Capitol Hill veteran who served with distinction in the Gulf War, according to US-based media reports.

    In 2017, Trump nominated the Raytheon executive to become the US Secretary of the Army.

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