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(LEAD) Trump fires Defense Secretary Esper, names Miller as acting secretary

All News 03:37 November 10, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES with more information, additional background from 3rd para)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday replaced his defense chief, Mark Esper, with less than three months left in his presidency.

"I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting secretary of Defense, effectively immediately," Trump tweeted.

"Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service," Trump added.

Reasons for the change were not immediately available, but many had suspected that Esper may have lost favor with Trump when he publicly opposed the idea of deploying U.S. service members to deal with a series of demonstrations that broke out in the wake of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign. That movement followed the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Esper was sworn in as secretary of defense in June 2019.

Miller, a native of Iowa, served in the Army between 1983 and 2014, according to the Defense Department. He had numerous Special Forces assignments and is former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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