Ashton Carter expected to replace Chuck Hagel as US Defense Secretary

by Staff, |
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter walks towards his seat at the start of a meeting with Japanese Senior Vice Defence Minister Shu Watanabe (not pictured) in Tokyo July 20, 2012. | REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- Ashton Carter, who served as deputy defense secretary under Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, will replace Hagel as U.S. defense secretary, sources familiar with the situation said.

Multiple insiders from the Obama administration told Reuters that Carter is expected to be the new U.S. defense secretary, with one tipster saying they were "almost certain" of the nomination. Carter, 60, has become the frontrunner to step into the difficult position of taking on international crises like ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the tension between Russia and the Ukraine, continued violence between Israel and Palestine and a host of other issues.

Neither the White House nor the Pentagon have commented on the rumors, though it was revealed that an announcement should be coming soon.

Opponents took the opportunity to decry the White House's Middle East strategy.

Sen. John McCain said that while the deputy defense secretary is certainly "qualified" -- he was the Pentagon's chief arms buyer and assistant secretary of defense for international security policy for President Bill Clinton -- the move will not help the administration improve the situation in the Middle East.

"No one can [lead the fight] because the White House, according to his three predecessors, centers all of the decision making among a handful of people in the White House who have only one thing in common: that they don't know anything about the military," McCain told CNN. "It's a reality, this administration doesn't give decision making authority to anybody but three or four people in the White House, which is one of the reasons it's been such an abysmal failure."

The administration's missteps in the Middle East "won't impact [Carter's] nomination" though, he added.

Hagel resigned from the U.S. Defense Secretary position after less than two years. Carter would make the fourth Defense Secretary under President Obama.