In a move that had been foreshadowed since early this summer when Secretary of Defense Mark Esper publicly distanced himself from President Donald J. Trump’s views on the domestic use of military force, President Trump announced this morning via tweet that he had fired Esper and replaced him with Christopher C. Miller, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
The move comes just two days after Trump appeared to lose the Presidential election and just hours after Politico reported that Trump Administration officials had made assurances that Esper’s job was safe through the January 2021 Inauguration.
NBC News reported last week that Dr. Esper had his letter of resignation ready to go and had been working with Congress to rename military installations named for Confederate military leaders, a campaign denounced by President Trump.
According to his official bio, the Honorable Christopher Miller was sworn in as the seventh director of the National Counterterrorism Center Aug. 10, 2020. He most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism.
From 2018-2019, Director Miller served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism and Transnational Threats at the National Security Council responsible for strategic level policy making and implementation, and support to senior NSC and White House leadership.
Director Miller served in the military from 1983-2014. He began his military career as an enlisted Infantryman in the Army Reserve in 1983 and also served in the District of Columbia National Guard as a Military Policeman. He was commissioned as an Infrantry Lieutenant in 1987. In 1993, he transferred to Special Forces. Director Miller participated in the initial combat operations in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in addition to many follow-on deployments to both theaters. He also has extensive inter-agency and joint special operationsl experience.
After retirement, Director Miller worked as a defense contractor providing clandestine Special Operations and Intelligence expertise directly to the Under Secretaries of Defense for Intelligence and Policy.
Director Miller obtained his bachelor’s degree in history from the George Washington University in 1987; holds a Master of Arts degree in national security studies from the Naval War College and is a graduate of the Naval College of Command and Staff, as well as the Army War College. He lives in Virginia with his wife and they have three grown children.