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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Carter's nomination gets mostly warm reception

No big surprise that President Obama has picked Ashton Carter to be his Defense secretary, and he could be the kind of nominee that gets through the Senate.

There is a chance they could hold up his confirmation as some sort of lever against the president, but defense issues are so important to both parties that I don’t think either want to do anything that would look like they are putting politics ahead of national security.

Carter also has two strong attributes that should draw support from both Democrats and Republications:

First is his budget and procurement background that has had a focus on managing through tight budgets. From 2009 to 2011, he was the undersecretary for acquisition. Then from 2011 to 2013, he was deputy secretary of Defense.

Several published reports described his ability to identify and manage budget cuts.

His second attribute is that during his stint overseeing acquisition – many have called him DOD’s chief weapons buyer – he had a particular focus on getting equipment into the field quickly that helped protect soldiers. This includes the mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, known as MRAPs. He also had a hand in getting better surveillance equipment and bomb-detection systems into the field.

Professional Services Council President and CEO Stan Soloway called Carter a “logical choice” as secretary.

“Ash is thoughtful, smart and experienced, having served in key DoD leadership roles during major military operations,” Soloway said in a statement. “His experience gives him the detailed knowledge of the Pentagon, its senior leadership, its complicated budget, and its complex acquisition system.”

Much of the reaction in the Twitterverse also was positive, with several including the New York Times describing him as assertive and independent.

Ashton Carter, Obama’s Pentagon Choice, Is Known as Assertive and Independent http://t.co/BsEJFGyyv6

— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 5, 2014

The Center for Strategic and International Studies tweeted that Carter will speak his mind.

Read what Cordesman thinks about Sec. Def. nominee Carter- "He will say what he thinks.” http://t.co/m4gwLG4kMt

— CSIS (@CSIS) December 5, 2014

Carter will face some challenges for sure as the Atlantic outlines in their analysis.

Ashton Carter will face no shortage of challenges as the Atlantic makes clear. #govcon http://t.co/nZm5yGz1Hw

— WashingtonTechnology(@washtechnology) December 5, 2014


But former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who served during the President George W. Bush administration had high praise for Carter, calling him an “excellent” choice.

My statement on Dr. Ashton Carter's nomination: pic.twitter.com/AAAM9J9y1O

— Donald Rumsfeld (@RumsfeldOffice) December 5, 2014

USA Today has a nice piece giving a review of Carter’s career and accomplishments.

Who is Ashton Carter, the man tapped to be the new Defense Secretary? http://t.co/hJjcazBHfX (Alex Wong, Getty) pic.twitter.com/IYufIeMXeN

— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 5, 2014

Sen. John McCain’s tweet on Carter offers no hint of he feels.

My stmt on nomination of Dr. Ashton Carter for Secretary of Defense: http://t.co/rawITeM2Ka

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) December 5, 2014

But if you click through to the statement, he praised Carter calling him “highly competent, experienced, hard-working and committed public servant.” But he makes a quick turn and uses the nomination as an opportunity to criticize the Obama administration.

No need to repeat it here, but click through via the link above. Sounds like the confirmation hearing will be contentious. I particularly like McCain’s use of the word “ventilate” when he talks about using the hearing as an opportunity to review the Obama Administration’s foreign policy.

Carter may be known as more of a policy wonk, but I’m sure he’ll be able to handle it.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 05, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Reader Comments

Fri, Dec 5, 2014

He friend to contractor, no? Has he made any Real Progress in acquisition reform? Look at the F-35. What did he do on his earlier watch. Please inquire.

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