After the November 24th announcement that Chuck Hagel was resigning as Secretary of Defense, there has been speculation as to who his successor might be. Multiple reports are now claiming that former Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter will be chosen as Hagel’s successor.
Mr. Carter held the second-in-command spot at the Pentagon from October 5, 2011 through December 3, 2013. Before that, he served for two years as the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics, and served for three years as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs during the Clinton administration.
Ash Carter was one of the original members of the short list of likely candidates, immediately following the announcement of Hagel’s resignation. And following the reports that Sen. Jack Reed and Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy asked to be withdrawn from consideration, Carter now sits atop an even shorter list.
It is widely believed that if President Obama does nominate Carter, he would easily be confirmed by Congress. Despite his previously held high-profile roles, Carter is not viewed as a political player. It’s been reported that Carter is willing to return to the department.
Considering all of his experience within the walls of the Pentagon, Carter seems like a strong candidate. In fact, when Carter resigned from his post as Deputy Secretary, Hagel told the media that Carter possessed an “unparalleled knowledge of every facet” of the DOD. But there is one major area on Mr. Carter’s résumé that some may find lacking… military experience.
Carter has two bachelor’s degrees from Yale University, and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University. He also has experience teaching at prestigious universities, including Oxford and Harvard’s Kennedy School. Mr. Carter also has extensive experience working as a senior official within the DOD. But he never served in uniform. While some Americans might think this is not an important requirement, to those who served and still serve, it could be.
It is not a requirement for the head of the DOD to have served in the armed forces, just as it is not a requirement for the commander-in-chief. But many Americans feel that having a Veteran running the Pentagon is extremely important.
Many who have worn a military uniform believe that only those who have experienced the military lifestyle can truly appreciate what it means to serve, deploy, and sacrifice. But it’s not a requirement.
Until an official announcement is made, Americans eagerly await the nomination of the next U.S. Secretary of Defense. Hagel will remain in the position until his successor is confirmed.
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Military Connection: Possible Next Secretary of Defense: By Joe Silva