WASHINGTON -- The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on Mark Esper's expected nomination as defense secretary. The committee says it's "pre-nomination paperwork" from the White House regarding the now-acting Pentagon chief.
Patrick Shanahan, who was Mattis' deputy, served as acting secretary for about six months but stepped down last month before he was formally nominated for the top job.
The committee chairman, GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, says the country needs Senate-confirmed leadership at the Pentagon "and quickly."
Inhofe says senators will act "expeditiously" to consider Esper, while upholding the Senate's constitutional advice-and-consent responsibilities.