Obama Picks 4th Defense Secretary

Obama Picks 4th Defense SecretaryObama Picks 4th Defense Secretary

President Barack Obama has chose Ashton Carter, a Pentagon official, to be his fourth defense secretary, succeeding departing Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to a US official. Hagel announced his resignation last week, but has said he will stay on until his successor is confirmed by the Senate. Carter, 60, spent more than two years as the Defense Department’s No. 2 civilian leader, under former Secretary Leon Panetta and then Hagel. He also served under Obama’s first Pentagon chief, Robert Gates, as the military’s top weapons buyer, Bloomberg reported.

An administration official had said that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, a former General Counsel at the Pentagon, was also still on the list of possibilities, but on Tuesday morning, sources said Johnson was no longer being considered. The official asked for anonymity because the decision hasn’t been announced. The prospect of an additional confirmation hearing for Johnson's replacement if he were to move to the Pentagon as the Senate switches to Republican control would have been problematic for the White House.

Carter’s years of service in Washington, stretching back to the Carter administration, make him a well-known figure on Capitol Hill, which may ease his path toward Senate confirmation. While he has a lengthy resume from years of service in Washington, he never served in the military. Carter has a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.