Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s sudden sacking “in large part” is upsetting the system, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said.
“This is really, at least this minute, a shock wave through the Pentagon. Everyone knew Esper was on the street with the president, but there was a feeling, if you will, that he could make it to the end of the administration . “Starr told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
Starr said there are a number of things in the Pentagon that are “extremely critical”, such as President Trump’s insistence on pulling troops out of Afghanistan by Christmas, despite military commanders telling the president that due to high levels of violence, it was too optimistic . The same applies to troops in Syria, Iraq and special forces across Africa.
“What is going to happen to the troops? Will the president just issue an edict that he wants everyone to come home? That would mess things up because the US military wants a permanent overseas presence, the US Wants to expand influence with allies and keep an eye on opponents, “explained Starr.
Esper was also scheduled to travel to Europe next week to discuss the troop withdrawal from Germany and a revamped US military presence on the continent. It is now unclear whether this will happen to the new incumbent defense minister, said Starr.
Starr also noted that Esper’s dismissal leaves General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the “hot seat”.
“Milley is now the guy the president will ultimately turn to for military advice and will be able to convince the president that national security is not in turmoil,” about 70 days after his inauguration?
CNN’s Barbara Starr reports: