Former Defense Secretary Joins Counter-Drone Startup

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Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper is joining the board of directors of a company building high-power microwave technologies for countering drones. 

Los Angeles-based startup Epirus announced the appointment of the former Raytheon executive Tuesday. Esper served as defense secretary beginning in 2019 until President Donald Trump fired him in November 2020 in the days following the presidential election. 

“Adding a visionary leader like Mark to the Board solidifies our ability to bring to market the technology we need to help protect the U.S. warfighter and develop other new applications of our technology for broad commercial use,” Grant Verstandig, Epirus executive chairman and co-founder, said in a statement. 

In addition to the Epirus gig, Esper is also on the Atlantic Council’s board of directors and is the first John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow at Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Esper served as secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019 after leaving Raytheon, one of the largest defense companies in the world, where he worked from 2010 to 2017. He previously served at the Pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of Defense during President George W. Bush’s administration and was a long-serving Congressional staffer as well.

“At a time when new, low-cost technologies can empower our adversaries and make anyone a target, America must stay ahead of its rivals as we modernize and protect our national security interests for years to come,” Esper said in a statement. “Epirus stands at the vanguard of those accelerating military and homeland security applications of game-changing technology to disarm drones used to launch lethal attacks against our service members and civilians anytime, anywhere. Addressing emerging threats and challenges was always a priority of mine at the Pentagon and will continue to be going forward.” 

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