President Donald J. Trump shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, at the conclusion of the ceremony on the establishment of the U.S. Space Command, the White House, Washington, D.C., Aug. 29, 2019. (DoD/Lisa Ferdinando)

On Sunday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper stated that the Pentagon would comply with House Democrats' subpoena in their nascent impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

The next day, the Pentagon added an important addendum to Esper's promise: Psych!

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper (Associated Press photo)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.

"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper visited the USS Gerald R. Ford during a visit to Newport News Shipbuilding and Naval Station Norfolk, where he addressed the problem of military suicide. (DVIDS/Seaman Zachary Melvin)

The military has the "means and resources" to stem the tide of suicide in its ranks, but continues to struggle in search of answers, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday during a visit to Naval Station Norfolk.

Three sailors assigned to the Norfolk-based USS George H.W. Bush died of apparent suicide within days of each other in the past two weeks. The Navy said the suicides were not related, but it marked the third, fourth, and fifth crew member suicides in the past two years, said Capt. Sean Bailey, the ship's commander, who described himself as heartbroken.

Esper said he shares in the sailors' grief.

"You mourn for the families and for their shipmates," Esper said. "I wish I could tell you we have an answer to prevent future further suicides in the armed services. We don't."

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Diverting $3.6 billion from military construction projects to fortify a southern border wall allows the U.S. to better deploy troops to curb illegal immigration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper says.

The plan, which siphons $77 million from four projects in Hampton Roads, drew strong protests from Democratic lawmakers. They say President Donald Trump is promoting his political agenda at the military's expense, that the wall is ineffective and that the move will hurt morale.

Esper defended the shift of funds. Once construction is complete, the Defense Department can redeploy personnel to "other high-traffic areas on the border without barriers. In short, these barriers will allow DoD to provide support to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) more efficiently and effectively," he wrote in a memo.

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Reuters/Leah Millis

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that European nations should consider funding projects in their countries after the Pentagon diverted money to pay for a border wall with Mexico.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper speaks to members of the press during his first joint press conference with Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2019. (DoD/ Staff Sgt. Nicole Mejia)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs will take the lead on improving access to medical care for military members exposed to potentially cancer-causing compounds during their service, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Wednesday.

In response to a question from McClatchy on the rising number of cancers in the military that could be connected to compounds service members were exposed to while deployed overseas or during training, Esper acknowledged the role of both the Pentagon and VA may grow.

"That is one of the areas where I want to improve and make sure we are doing everything we can to assist soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines as they transition out of the service into the VA system," Esper said.

"VA has the lead on this," he added.

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