Obama nominates Ashton Carter as defense secretary
Fri Dec 5, 2014
US President Barack Obama has nominated former senior Pentagon official Ashton Carter to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
Obama announced Carter's nomination during a ceremony at the White House on Friday, praising him as America’s one of “foremost national security leaders.”
"He knows the Department of Defense inside and out, all of which means that on Day One, he's going to hit the ground running," Obama said.
"We face no shortage of challenges to our national security," the US president said. “[He] is going to be critical to all these efforts."
Carter, the former No. 2 and No. 3 official at the US Defense Department, termed the nomination an "honor and a privilege", and promised to the president his "most candid" strategic and military advice.
The 60-year-old is expected to easily win approval from the Republican-led US Senate in January 2015.
Carter was the deputy secretary of defense from October 2011 to December 2013, serving as the top deputy to Hagel and his predecessor Leon Panetta. He also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under former President Bill Clinton.
Carter has also been an advisor to the American multinational investment bank the Goldman Sachs.
His specialties include science, technology, and developing the defense budget in tight economic times and he has a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University.
Hagel resigned on November 24 under pressure after less than two years as the head of the Defense Department. US officials said privately that he had been forced out. "There’s no question he was fired," said one official.
Hagel had expressed frustration over the Obama administration’s strategy in Iraq and Syria. During his time as senator, Hagel was an outspoken critic of Israel and openly criticized the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
During an interview in 2006, the former Vietnam War veteran stated that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people [on Capitol Hill]" and "I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator.”