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Trump taps Uniontown native, Raytheon executive for Army secretary

| Thursday, July 27, 2017, 6:15 p.m.
Mark Esper, here being inducted into the Laurel Highlands Life Achivement Hall of Fame in 2013, has been tapped by President Donald Trump as a potential nominee for U.S. Army secretary.
File photo
Mark Esper, here being inducted into the Laurel Highlands Life Achivement Hall of Fame in 2013, has been tapped by President Donald Trump as a potential nominee for U.S. Army secretary.

President Trump announced Wednesday night he plans to nominate U.S. Army veteran, Uniontown native and defense contractor executive Mark Esper to be secretary of the Army, after his two previous nominees were withdrawn.

Trump's first pick, Vincent Viola , pulled out of consideration in February when he couldn't untangle his financial interests. The president's second pick, Mark Green , withdrew in May after he was attacked for criticizing federal attempts to protect gay, bisexual and transgender people in workplaces. Esper serves as a lobbyist and vice president for government relations at Raytheon Company, a defense contractor. He also served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2004. Esper worked on national security issues for multiple senators, and worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Armed Services Committee. He served in the Army before transitioning to the National Guard and retiring after 21 years of military service.

Esper has degrees from the U.S. Military Academy, Harvard University and George Washington University. He is a 1982 graduate of Laurel Highlands High School.

Trump has had trouble filling cabinet and cabinet-level positions in his administration, with many still vacant six months into his presidency. There are still 120 top positions open, according to The New York Times.

Tribune-Review staff writer Patrick Varine contributed to this report.

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