It may not last for long, but it appears the never-ending chaos and dysfunction in the Trump administration will soon lead to former North Carolina Transportation Secretary and Wake County school superintendent Tony Tata serving as the top policy official in the U.S. Defense Department.
Before joining the Trump administration, Esper was the vice president for government relations at Raytheon, a major USA defense contractor.
Trump also leaned more on two more-forceful officials: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo or Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
Trump announced on Twitter that Esper would be replaced with Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center and former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council. Mattis was Trump's first defense secretary and a popular figure among the troops.
Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat who served as a senior Pentagon official in the Obama administration, called on Miller to put national security interests ahead of loyalty to Trump, saying "the country and the military he has dedicated his life to are counting on him to do the right thing".
In a letter to the president, Esper seemed to take the news gracefully.
Turkish delight for lira after officials' surprise departures
On Saturday night, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed central bank boss Murat Uysal for no reason. After Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu resigned in April, Erdoğan rejected the resignation.
Esper told the Military Times, "I was really concerned that that continued talk about Insurrection Act was going to take us in a direction, take us into a really dark direction and I wanted to make clear what I thought about the situation as secretary of defense and the role of the active-duty forces".
U.S. military officials have long stressed that the USA withdrawal from Afghanistan is conditions based, with those conditions including the Taliban's breaking its ties to al Qaeda and making progress in peace talks with the Afghan government, two conditions that have yet to be met.
During his roughly 16-month tenure, Mr. Esper generally supported Mr. Trump's policies but more recently he was widely expected to quit or be ousted if Trump won reelection.
Prior to leaving the NCTC, Miller was working at the Pentagon as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism. A statement from Senate Armed Services Chair Jim Inhofe at the time said the committee did not have enough information to hold the hearing. "We are not in one of those situations now", Esper said, according to NBC.
"Trump's Defence Department purge is deeply risky to our national security", Blumenthal tweeted,adding that the outgoing president's "personal vendettas & temper tantrums supersede our national security".
Or perhaps Trump is simply purging enemies and rewarding allies-and other officials, especially supposed "deep state" types, may be next.
Over the summer, Esper also courted controversy when he told reporters that he had no knowledge of plans to clear an area outside the White House of Black Lives Matter protesters.
Miller, 55, a former Army Green Beret, has served as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. In 2018, a few months after leaving the White House, he joined the Justice Department as a national security advisor - a job he was reportedly given under orders from President Trump.