Carter, 60, succeeds Chuck Hagel who never really recovered from a bruising confirmation fight in 2013. Carter, by contrast, easily navigated his confirmation hearing and won unanimous support from the Armed Services Committee.
“Ash Carter served as a key leader of our national security team in the first years of my presidency, and with his overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by the Senate today, I’m proud to welcome him back as our next secretary of Defense,” President Obama said in a statement.
A physicist by training, Carter has served under 11 Defense secretaries and most recently was the No. 2 official there. President Obama passed him over in favor of Hagel two years ago, but returned to him after Hagel offered his resignation under pressure in November.
Hagel was confirmed by a partisan 58-41 vote in 2013.
Senate approval for Carter was nearly a foregone conclusion after the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., offered strong support for him prior to the vote.
“I think Dr. Carter will be a good secretary of Defense, who will always keep faith with our men and women in uniform and work tirelessly on their behalf and that of our national security,” McCain said Thursday.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Tom Vanden Brook