Ash Carter Confirmed as Defense Secretary

Carter will be the fourth defense secretary to serve under President Obama.

February 12, 2015, 3:15 PM

— -- The Senate today confirmed Ash Carter as the next Secretary of Defense with a vote of 93 to 5.

Carter, who was nominated to the post in December, will replace Chuck Hagel and will be President Obama's fourth defense secretary in six years.

He's a veteran Pentagon official who recently served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013 and worked at the Defense Department under President Bill Clinton.

But Carter, 60, also has a unique background one might not expect for a person leading the Pentagon. He's a physicist and medieval historian by training, holding degrees from Yale and Oxford and having taught at Harvard. In 1975, he published an article in Yale Scientific titled “Quarks, Charm and the Psi Particle," and his aides once dubbed him the "600-pound brain in the room."

Carter earned bipartisan praise throughout his confirmation process. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted unanimously on his nomination after a hearing where he stated his views on providing lethal aid to the Ukrainian military to the mission to defeat ISIS.

"I think Dr. Carter will be a good Secretary of Defense, who will always keep faith with our men and women in uniform and work tirelessly on their behalf and that of our national security," Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services, said today.

"I am hopeful about the prospects of working together with Dr. Carter, along with my colleagues in the Committee on Armed Services, to achieve our shared priorities, especially the reform of our defense acquisition system, the modernization of our military compensation system, and the repeal of sequestration."

Carter becomes Secretary of Defense as Congress is beginning to debate a request from the White House to authorize the use of military force against ISIS.

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