US President Donald Trump attended a welcoming ceremony for new US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper at the Pentagon in Arlington on Thursday.

"Our military today is more powerful by far than ever before. And three years ago we could not have said that," Trump said. "We're giving our war fighters the tools they need to fight and win with overwhelming force, after years and years of budget cuts."

Esper said that his role would be creating "a more lethal force, one that is increasing its readiness and modernising for the future" while Vice President Mike Pence said that the new Defence Secretary could thank Trump for "a military better equipped, better trained and better prepared than any military in the history of the world."

Esper taking the reins at the Pentagon ends the longest period the office has ever gone without filling the role. The new Secretary of Defence takes office amid several international crises, in particular tensions with Iran in the Middle East.

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