Trump Fires Defense Secretary, Counterterrorism Center Director Takes Over For Now

President Donald Trump (Trump) said Monday (9) that he fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and announced that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, would be acting defense secretary, effective immediately.

Trump tweeted, “I am pleased to announce that Christopher Miller, the highly respected director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will serve as Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately. Chris will do a great job! Mark Esper has been fired. I want to thank him for his service.”

Kawakami did not provide a reason for Esper’s firing. Esper was appointed by Trump in July 2019 before being unanimously approved by the Senate by a 90-8 vote. Previously, he served as Secretary of the Army. He is 56 years old.

According to Fox, Esper’s dismissal came five months after he said he “did not support invoking the Insurrection Act” to send troops to quell the riots, amid a number of violent demonstrations across the United States. Esper has not held a news conference in the Pentagon briefing room since then.

Miller was sworn in as the seventh director of the National Counterterrorism Center in August 2020, after serving as deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism. He previously served as a special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism and transnational threats at the National Security Council from 2018 to 2019, where he was responsible for strategic-level policy development and implementation.