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Esper joins venture capital firm Red Cell

WASHINGTON ― Former Secretary of Defense Marc Hope joined Washington-based venture capital firm Red Cell Partners as a partner and chairman of its national security practice, the firm announced Wednesday.

The company said Esper will lead its business by investing and building new ventures in defense, cybersecurity, international business, space and aerospace. He joins the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the retired Air Force general. Paul Selvawhich serves as an operational partner in the practice of national security.

Esper is also to the board of directors in a startup based in Los Angeles Epirus, which was co-founded by Red Cell founding partner and CEO Grant Verstandig. In a statement, Versandig hailed Esper as “an accomplished and visionary leader whose appointment comes at a pivotal time in Red Cell’s evolution.”

A former government relations manager at Raytheon and a longtime congressman, Esper served as secretary of the Army under the then president. donald trump in 2018 and early 2019, then as Secretary of Defense. Esper was known for his “short-of-the-night” budgeting process that scrutinized legacy programs and cut a number of them, refocusing funds on efforts to challenge China and Russia.

Asset fired the West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran in a tweet after the November 2020 election. Esper was then the third man to leave the Pentagon leadership position during the administration, following Jim Mattis and, on an interim basis, Patrick Shanahan.

Joe Gould is a senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.