By Rosalia Fodera 12-3-14
President Obama is expected to nominate Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense to replace Chuck Hagel, according to administration officials. Carter is a physicist with experience in the Pentagon’s leadership.
If chosen, Carter will lead the Pentagon in military operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He will also deal with the violence in Afghanistan. The military will also try to focus on forces in Asia.
Carter may be more aggressive than Hagel when it comes to defending the administration’s policies in public and pushing back when the White House attempts to have tight limits on military operations.
Hagel’s resignation was announced late last month, but he will stay in the job until his replacement is confirmed. Pressure from the White House and from disagreements between the Pentagon and the White House over the president’s strategy in the Middle East War led to him stepping down.
Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary did not confirm that Obama had chosen Carter, but seemed to favor him at a press briefing.
“He’s somebody that certainly deserves and has demonstrated strong bipartisan support for his previous service in government,” Earnest said. “He is somebody that does have a detailed understanding of the way that the Department of Defense works.”
The White House is still deciding on the timing to announce the president’s choice, but is not denying it did not deny that Carter was the top candidate.