Ashton Carter Nominated as Pentagon Chief

Ashton Carter Nominated  as Pentagon ChiefAshton Carter Nominated  as Pentagon Chief

President Barack Obama on Friday nominated veteran defense expert Ashton Carter as his defense secretary, a job that will require him to tackle messy wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan and try to fend off potentially damaging budget cuts.

In Carter, Obama chose a policy expert who has worked for 11 defense secretaries. The 60-year-old Carter pronounced himself ready to give Obama honest, strategic advice once he clears U.S. Senate confirmation, which should move quickly early next year.

He replaces Chuck Hagel, who had privately expressed frustration with the administration’s strategy on Iraq and Syria and with his lack of influence over the policy, which was driven by the White House.

Hagel did not attend the White House nominating ceremony, which is customary for departing Cabinet members. He issued a statement praising the choice of Carter as his successor.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president did not feel snubbed, although he said Obama wanted Hagel to be there.