In this July 16, 2019 photo, Secretary of the Army and Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Esper, an Army veteran and former defense industry lobbyist, won Senate confirmation Tuesday to be the Secretary of Defense. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

New Pentagon chief aims to ensure safe passage in Persian Gulf

Esper: US will maintain naval presence to protect American vessels

July 24, 2019 - 11:56 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration's new Pentagon chief says he aims to ensure a U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf that would deter Iran from threatening to stop or seize any American commercial ship.

Mark Esper, who was sworn in as defense secretary on Tuesday, tells reporters that this arrangement wouldn't mean having an American warship escorting every U.S. commercial ship.

As Esper puts it, "to the degree that the risk demands it," the U.S. military will do what it can — by air and by sea — to ensure secure navigation in the Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz.

Esper says he'll receive briefings on the Gulf situation, and Iran's recent actions there, during a visit next week to Central Command headquarters in Florida.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()