FORT KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- One of Washington's top Army officials paid a visit to Fort Knox this week. 

Dr. Mark Esper is traveling the country, touring some of the Army's major installations. Fort Knox is high on the list.

"This is my first visit to Fort Knox as the army secretary," Esper said. "I'm pleased with what I saw ... the caliber and the talent as well."

Esper has been on the job for nearly five months. During his two-day visit, he met with senior leaders and did physical training with soldiers. He also held a roundtable discussion with spouses of local soldiers to hear their concerns and get ideas.

"The toughest job in the Army is the spouse of the service member," Esper said, adding that his No. 1 priority is to improve the Army's readiness.

"It's increasingly more challenging to recruit young people into the service and retain them," he said.

He also praised higher defense spending, passed by Congress.

"In previous years, we saw a drop in funding for the United States military, and so we're building back up," Esper said.

When asked about President Trump's plan to send more troops to the U.S.-Mexican border, Esper said we'll wait and see exactly what the orders are. 

"I have not seen any of that yet," he said. "Once I do, we'll have a lot more clarity on what the impact will be."

And when asked about the recent ban on transgender troops, Esper said "we'll see how that plays out" after it gets through the courts.

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