In a 93-5 vote Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Ash Carter as the nation’s 25th Secretary of Defense.
Carter, 60, was nominated by President Obama in September of last year to replace outgoing Defense head Chuck Hagel, who reportedly was at odds with several members of the Obama administration concerning the plans to defeat ISIL in the Middle East.
Reaction on Capitol Hill to Carter’s confirmation was generally very positive:
And from Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) speech on the Senate floor:
On Afghanistan, Dr. Carter told the committee he would consider revisions to the size and pace of the President’s drawdown plan if security conditions warranted. To achieve the success that is possible there, he urged the United States ‘continue its campaign and finish the job. Dr. Carter indicated he is very much inclined in the direction of providing defensive lethal arms to help Ukraine resist Russian aggression. He pledged to do more to streamline and improve the defense acquisition system that takes too long and costs too much. And Dr. Carter agreed it is time to roll back sequestration because ‘it introduces turbulence and uncertainty that are wasteful, and it conveys a misleadingly diminished picture of our power in the eyes of friends and foes alike.’
The new Secretary of Defense is returning to a familiar place, as he served as the Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. Carter had also served in the Department of Defense going back to the first term of President Bill Clinton. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Yale University in 1976, and received his doctorate from Oxford in theoretical physics in 1979.