Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper meets with Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Sept..

The Role

The defense secretary oversees the Defense Department and acts as the principal defense policy maker and advisor.


Check out photos of Secretary Esper talking with troops, working with leaders and attending ceremonies and events.

Army Secretary Mark Esper stands for a selfie with service members, March 14, 2019.

The Person

Dr. Mark T. Esper became Secretary of Defense on July 23, 2019. He previously served as the 23rd Secretary of the Army. Dr. Esper graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1986, and has two advanced degrees from Harvard University and George Washington University. He served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army on active duty and in the reserves as an Army Infantry Officer. Among his awards are the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Dr. Esper is a former defense industry executive and senior U.S. Senate staffer who previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (negotiations policy).