President Donald J. Trump on Thursday celebrated his new secretary of defense with pomp and pageantry at the Pentagon.

President Trump, with Vice President Mike Pence and Pentagon leaders partook in a full honors welcome ceremony that includes a 21-gun-salute, for Mark Esper, who was sworn in on Tuesday.

During the ceremony on the Pentagon lawn in Arlington, Virginia, President Trump congratulated and thanked Esper, expressing that Esper’s “lifetime of noble service has prepared” him for “this immense responsibility.”

Esper, an Army veteran and former defense industry lobbyist, won the Senate confirmation by a vote of 90-8.

President Trump said Esper is the right person as the new secretary of defense. “I have absolute confidence that Mark will ensure that our incredible military is fully prepared to deter conflict and to defeat any foe,” said President Trump.

“No enemy can match the awesome might of the American Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the United States Marines,” continued the president.

For his part, Esper gave an overview of the growing challenges facing the United States. “The global security environment has clearly become more complex,” said Esper, who continued, “The free and open order that has preserved the peace and sustained our prosperity for decades is under duress.”||e0de9e08c__

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He gave a list of challenges confronting the United States, including “great power competition” from China and Russia, seeking “to displace the United States and shift the balance of power in their favor.”

Esper refers to threats from Iran and organizations like ISIS. “We will continue to strengthen our military and deter conflict in order to preserve the peace and advance America’s interests,” said Esper.

He pledged to assist the Pentagon to build “a more lethal force, one that is increasing its readiness and modernizing for the future.”

Esper conveyed the second stratagem that would “strengthen our alliances and attract new partners.”

“A strong network of like-minded nations that are willing and able to fight together is an advantage that our adversaries do not possess,” said Esper. And in the same breath he added, “This means our allies and partners must contribute more equitably to our shared security.”

Esper reiterated President Trump’s long-standing firm stance calling for active and fair contributions from allies and partner.