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by
Bridget Johnson

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October 10, 2013 - 12:53 pm

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is losing his No. 2 at the Pentagon as Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter handed in his resignation today.

Carter, 59, has been a highly knowledgeable and powerful force inside the Defense Department, serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics from April 2009 until October 2011, when he assumed the DSD role.

Carter had been among the top picks to replace former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta upon his retirement. After President Obama opted for Hagel instead, Obama personally asked Carter to stay on as Hagel’s No. 2.

“Earlier today, I met with Ash Carter and reluctantly accepted his decision to step down as Deputy Secretary of Defense on Dec. 4, after more than four and a half years of continuous service to the Department of Defense,” Hagel said in a statement moments ago.

“Ash has been an extraordinarily loyal and effective Deputy Secretary, both for me and Secretary Panetta.  In his previous capacity as Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, he provided outstanding support to Secretary Gates and – most importantly – to our men and women fighting downrange.  He possesses an unparalleled knowledge of every facet of America’s defense enterprise, having worked directly and indirectly for eleven Secretaries of Defense over the course of his storied career,” Hagel continued.

“I will always be grateful that Ash was willing to stay on and serve as my Deputy Secretary.  I have continually relied upon Ash to help solve the toughest challenges facing the Department of Defense.  I particularly appreciate his work spearheading the Strategic Choices and Management Review, which put the Department in a far stronger position to manage through unprecedented budget uncertainty.  He is a brilliant strategist and an excellent manager who helped enhance the Department’s buying power, but Ash’s most recent tour of the Department will be especially remembered for his tremendous efforts to provide more agile and effective support for our warfighters and their families.  His compassion, love, and determination to overcome any and all bureaucratic obstacles earned him their abiding respect and appreciation.”

Hagel added that he’s “grateful” Carter agreed to stay on for two more months.

Carter has four times been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal and was once awarded the Defense Intelligence Medal. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in the Clinton administration and most recently taught at Harvard.

Less than a month ago, Carter traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. “The reason why I came is as a reflection of the fact that the United States and India are two countries that are destined to be security partners on the world stage. That is because we share common interests, but also more fundamentally, many common values and outlooks on issues ranging from defense trade to counter-terrorism to maritime security and beyond,” Carter said at a media roundtable during his final stop.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called Carter “a steady, consistent and effective voice for our men and women in uniform. He also has great respect and admiration from senators on both sides of the aisle.”

“During his time as Deputy Secretary, we have faced some of the most challenging times in the department’s history,” Graham added. “Ash Carter was always there providing exceptional leadership at a time when it mattered. He will truly be missed.”

The announcement comes just over a week into the government shutdown and directly after the fiasco in which the Pentagon denied death gratuities to the survivors of fallen soldiers, something Hagel and his staff deemed unavoidable because lawyers had interpreted the broad Pay Our Military Act to not include the benefits.

Yesterday Hagel announced he would accept help from a donor, the Fisher House, to pay the families. Today the Senate sent a bill explicitly authorizing the payments to Obama’s desk.

“While the damage cannot be fully undone, Congress has spoken and acted in a bipartisan way to rectify the outrageous treatment the families of our fallen heroes received this week,” said Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). “Now, we’re learning the President has taken his political obstinacy to a new low and believes the legislation Congress has passed to right this wrong is ‘not necessary.’”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Near as I can tell, Dr Carter never served a day in the military; never lived in his own filth for weeks at a time; never faced death with that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach and that crazy gasping, shuddering, mind-numbing terror that comes with it; never saw his friends and brothers killed and maimed in all sorts of horrible ways; and never did it all in the service of a largely ignorant and ungrateful citizenry."

Fortunately, none of that is a requirement for a civilian logistician. Practicality and a decent sense of organization is.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lessee, Obama passed over the competent man and chose the incompetent man, but then asked the competent man to please stay on, because the incompetent man cannot run things. So now, the competent man has had his fill, probably because of the war memorial and death-benefits mess, and has resigned, and his resignation has been accepted.

There is no way I would have chosen Hagel, especially after his stupidity was displayed during confirmation, and there is no way I would accept the #2's resignation. I would dump the #1 and elevate the #2. Conversely, there is no way Obama will do this, as he never elevates first-rate people.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder if he resigned because he gave the bad advice or because he gave good advice ... which wasn't taken by Hagel?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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I take exception to the contention that Carter was a competent LEADER. Compared to Hagel anyone would look competent. Yes, Carter had a wealth of experience running large organizations without rocking the boat. Moral in the Pentagon is terrible, worst it's ever been. Just ask almost anybody who works there. Doesn't Carter share the blame? And acquisition program management is as bad as ever. If Carter is so good, why didn't he improve it? No, Carter is neither the hero nor the brilliant manager suggested in this article and in most of the comments. At best, he's a man who might have suddenly realized what he was doing to the military and quit rather than rock the boat. Never once did Carter stand with the officers and enlisted in opposing Obama's agenda to gut the military, get rid of chaplains, turn over the military to gay rights advocates, and the list goes on. Carter is no one to admire. He is no hero but he might be a coward if rather than defend the military that has been so generous to him in awards, positions of authority, and pension, he'd rather quit and slink off to Harvard and teach yet another naive generation from our most wealthiest of families more folklore on how he made things better.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US media failed to cite pundits’ ties to defense industry in Syria strike debate October 11, 2013

http://rt.com/usa/media-failed-pundits-defense-syria-011/
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
WOW!
Hagel - HACK comes in, screws up bad, and #2 has to take the fall. What a joke.

The whole War memorial/death benefit fiasco is just so despicable. I honestly do not think even Clinton or Carter would ever have done some thing so hackish - for political gain.
It has backfired on them badly. Talk about what you could do to get almost every voter pissed off at you-who was Barry listening to? That guy should go.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sow what's the real story? No room left among the limp-wristed DoD sychophants for adults?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Carter was a gentleman to stay as long as he did.

I don't like Hagel a bit, but so far he has not been a total disaster. I would not be surprised if he resigned in the not too distant future himself, I'd take back half the bad things I've said about him.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
How do you calculate that he hasn't been a total disaster? That the sorry state of our military is due wholly to Val and 'Chelle? Hagel has always lusted after the State job as peacemaker-in-chief no matter what he had to do to get peace. You should read some of the drivel he wrote in 2004 for Foreign Affairs when outlining a "good" Republican foreign policy, you know, as opposed to the one the "cowboy" fashioned. Hagel's a guilt-ridden post Viet Nam dove, a thoroughgoing peacenik, and a disgrace anyway you look at it. That's the reason Obama chose him - he knew he wouldn't get any push back no matter how much he degraded the military.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you hire a hack don't be surprised if the competent underlings beat feet. At 59 this guy can probably retire very comfortably. If not he can double or triple his already generous compensation package consulting.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
More likely he'll go to work for one of the contractors or lobby firms specializing in federal procurement.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ms Johnson, I am not attempting to take anything away from Dr Carter. He's a brilliant man and has clearly been a significant force in US national security policy.

However, I do take issue with your panegyric. Dr Carter is not a hero.

I respectfully suggest you look up Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis and write a similar column on him. SSG Ollis did not attend an Ivy League school; was not a Rhodes Scholar; did not serve on a multi-billion dollar company's Board of Directors; did not earn numerous post graduate degrees; did not give speeches to well-fed and well-paid bureaucrats and academics and very likely never earned more than $30,000 per year.

SSG Ollis enlisted in the US Army right out high school. He was an infantryman who deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He died in the latter country "heading to the sound of the gunfire", protecting an Allied soldier, and received the Silver Star posthumously.

Near as I can tell, Dr Carter never served a day in the military; never lived in his own filth for weeks at a time; never faced death with that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach and that crazy gasping, shuddering, mind-numbing terror that comes with it; never saw his friends and brothers killed and maimed in all sorts of horrible ways; and never did it all in the service of a largely ignorant and ungrateful citizenry. SSG Ollis did all of this, for years at a time. He died doing it. (If proof of Dr Carter's service in combat can be provided, I will gladly recant this paragraph.)

SSG Ollis is, in my book, a hero, and far more deserving of praise than Dr Carter.

And with all due respect to K2K, I believe SSG Ollis' death is a far more terrible loss for all Americans than Dr Carter's resignation.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Near as I can tell, Dr Carter never served a day in the military; never lived in his own filth for weeks at a time; never faced death with that hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach and that crazy gasping, shuddering, mind-numbing terror that comes with it; never saw his friends and brothers killed and maimed in all sorts of horrible ways; and never did it all in the service of a largely ignorant and ungrateful citizenry."

Fortunately, none of that is a requirement for a civilian logistician. Practicality and a decent sense of organization is.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Talk about missing the point entirely...QED.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ashton Carter's resignation is a terrible loss for all Americans (including the 310 million who have no idea who he is),
and a sign of 'no confidence' in a CinC who uses America's military as a prop, and an experiment in 'fundamental transformation'.

50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder when someone is going to make the movie 'No Country for Smart Men'?

Its not where we are headed - we are there!


50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
sounds like a good and honorable man. good and honorable men have no place among jackals.

there is a coup taking place w/in our government. once this 0-care is passed it will lead to rule by executive fiat. he probably couldn't stomach the continued incompetence, treason and hatred for his country he had to see on a daily basis.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
A coup d'etat took place in our Country in November of 2008.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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