By Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
Today, President Barack Obama nominated Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to be the next Secretary of Defense. This comes after mounting speculation of an unwanted, undesirable and difficult position to fill challenged the administration’s recent efforts.
Carter was selected to be the fourth Secretary of Defense for the Obama administration in six years. He is slotted to replace the present and outgoing Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, who resigned last month.
According to the president, Carter brings “a unique blend of strategic perspective and technical know-how.” He is an “innovator” and “highly competent.” Carter has served in many high-level roles in the Department of Defense, including: Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. He is also a member of the highly prestigious Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.
In response to critical attacks of the Obama administration’s tight-niche National Security staff or worries of simply being the president’s yes-man, Carter spoke out and told the president, “If confirmed in this job, I pledge to you my most candid strategic advice. And I pledge also that you will receive equally candid military advice.”
In other words, Carter has assured the president, the military, the political opponents and the people that he vows to represent national and department-wide interests, independent of the White House. Whether or not the president will rely on Carter to be the weightiest figure in the situation or briefing rooms for military and defense counsel is another matter.
The appointment has received praised from both Republicans and Democrats. Senators have been urged by the president to make a speedy confirmation. No one is expecting any complications to stall the confirmation process in the Senate.