UPDATE 1-Incoming Pentagon chief will attend NATO meeting in Brussels next week

UPDATE 1-Incoming Pentagon chief will attend NATO meeting in Brussels next week
UPDATE 1-Incoming Pentagon chief will attend NATO meeting in Brussels next week

(Adds background)

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) - U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper, who becomes the acting defense secretary on Monday, will travel to Brussels next week for a meeting of NATO defense ministers, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

President Donald announced on Tuesday that Esper would replace acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who is stepping down after media reports emerged of domestic violence in his family.

Shanahan will remain acting Pentagon chief until Esper formally takes the reins on Monday. told reporters on Tuesday Esper would likely be his nominee to lead the department.

Esper will travel later in the week to the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in Brussels, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"The focus of his meetings will be reinforcing the U.S. commitment to strengthening the NATO alliance, ensuring more equitable burden sharing, bolstering NATO readiness and addressing regional security issues," the statement said. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Lisa Shumaker)

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