Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meet The New Def Sec

Great Satan's newest Defense Secretary...

The Senate overwhelmingly approved Ash Carter as the new defense secretary Thursday, clearing the way for him to take over the Defense Department's top job.

A trained physicist and a longtime Pentagon bureaucrat, Carter will take office at a time when the military faces political battles at home and complex confrontations abroad.

Carter will be the fourth defense secretary under 44, and he'll be responsible for guiding the commander-in-chief's policies through to the end of a tumultuous two-term administration. A rundown on the new boss:

Background: Carter, 60, was born in Philadelphia into a military family; his father was a Navy doctor. A Yale graduate, he is a Rhodes scholar with degrees in theoretical physics and medieval history. He did not serve in uniform. He has two grown children with his first wife, Bates College President Clayton Spencer, and is now married to Stephanie Carter.

Experience: Carter has served in several top Defense Department posts, including as its top weapons buyer and the deputy secretary earlier in the Obama administration. During his tenure as the Pentagon's No. 2 man, his name was floated as a possible defense secretary in 2012, but he was passed over at that time in favor of Chuck Hagel.

Arrival: Carter will officially move into the defense secretary's office on the Pentagon's E-Ring on Feb. 17. As Hagel departs, Carter will bring in a his own team to include a new chief of staff and a new military adviser, to help him strategize for the array of complex challenges he will immediately face, both overseas and at home.

Overseas challenges:

Iraq — Carter will be thrust into the role of a wartime leader overseeing the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Within a few months, it is likely that thousands of U.S troops will be helping the Iraqis fight the imminent battle of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which is now controlled by ISIL.

Afghanistan — Carter arrives at the Pentagon just as the top U.S. general in Afghanistan is signaling the need to rewrite the current drawdown plan. Carter will be at the table this spring as top White House advisers decide how to tamp down concerns that the Taliban could threaten the current Afghan government and tilt the country back toward its 1990s-era chaos.

Eastern Europe — Russian aggression and concerns about stability in Eastern Europe is likely to be an ongoing issue. Specifically, if the latest ceasefire in Ukraine fails, Carter will be involved in the decision on to provide more arms to Ukrainian forces in their fight against Russian-backed separatists. He has already told senators he would be inclined to increase U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

Homefront challenges:

Budget — Lawmakers are beginning to dig into the White House's 2016 defense budget request. During his confirmation hearing, Carter lamented looming sequestration cuts that military leaders say will cripple force readiness, and pledged to push Congress to fix the issue before this fall.

War powers — Debate is heating up over President Obama's request for a new authorization for military force in the fight against Islamic State forces in the Middle East. it's not clear the issue will have much impact on operations in the U.S. Central Command region, but it will be an intense and controversial political battle in Washington.

Military compensation — Carter takes office just a few weeks after the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission proposed a massive overhaul of the retirement and health care systems. As Congress vets those ideas and considers possible legislation, Carter will face pressure from all sides to weigh in on the controversial matter.

Pic - "Providing for the common defense is one of the paramount responsibilities of the United States government"