Jeff Schogol

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.

Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.

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Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/DoD

The Pentagon plans to tie itself into a pretzel as the Senate considers Mark Esper's nomination to become the next defense secretary.

Esper has been serving as acting defense secretary since June 24. As soon as the White House sends his nomination to the Senate, Esper will revert back to Army secretary and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer will become the new acting defense secretary, said Eric Chewning, the acting defense secretary's chief of staff.

"We will not presume confirmation – let me be very clear about that," Chewning told reporters on Tuesday. "It is the prerogative of the Senate to take as long as they think is necessary to examine and confirm a nominee. So we have prepared Secretary Spencer to remain in the role until we have a confirmed secretary of defense."

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Photo via Jeremiah Sullivan III

He’s been on the job only about a week but Richard V. Spencer, the new Secretary of the Navy, faces the tough job of determining the fate of American war hero Craig Becker.

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U.S. Navy photo

Richard V. Spencer was sworn in as the new Navy secretary in a ceremony at the Pentagon Thursday morning.

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