Carter is confirmed as US secretary of defense

93 senators voted in favor of Carter and five voted against. Carter will serve as the US President Barack Obama's fourth defense secretary.

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February 12, 2015 22:48
1 minute read.
Ashton Carter

Ashton Carter (C), US President Barack Obama (L) and US Vice President Joseph Biden (R).. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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WASHINGTON -- Dr. Ashton Carter, a physicist, academic and a veteran of the Pentagon brass, has been confirmed as secretary of defense.

93 senators voted in favor of Carter and five voted against.

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Carter will serve as the US President Barack Obama’s fourth defense secretary.

The academic writings of Carter reveal an alignment on Iran policy with the president, who has said publicly over the years that diplomacy is the most “durable” course of action with Iran.

“Military action must be viewed as a component of a comprehensive strategy rather than a stand-alone option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. But it is an element of any true option,” Carter wrote in a June 2008 paper for Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

“Military action by itself will not finish the problem.”

In his confirmation hearing, Carter said he would likely support the transfer of lethal defensive arms to Ukraine, before Thursday’s announcement of a new cease-fire agreement between Kiev and Moscow.



Carter also expressed support for Obama’s strategy against Islamic State, heavily reliant on air power in the initial face of degrading the terrorist network.

“You don’t want the population to settle into having ISIS rule them,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The chairman of that committee, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), voted in Carter’s favor despite staunch and vocal opposition to the president’s foreign policy on virtually all fronts.

“Dr. Carter is a worthy choice for secretary of defense. He has the experience, knowledge, and skill to succeed,” McCain said on the Senate floor, announcing his vote.

“I do so with sincere hope and sadly little confidence that the president who nominated Dr. Carter will empower him to lead and contribute to the fullest extent of his abilities.

Because at a time of global upheaval and multiplying threats to our security, the American people need and deserve nothing less.”

Obama called Carter “a key leader of our national security team in the first years of my presidency,” in a congratulatory statement on his confirmation.

“We have the strongest military in history of the world,” Obama said, “and with Secretary Carter at the Pentagon...

we’re going to keep it that way.”

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