New Boss at the Pentagon: The Nomination of Ashton Carter Means More War

Carter,AshtonReports indicate Obama will nominate Carter as new defense secretary. Succeeding Chuck Hagel.

“(B)arring any last minute complications.” According to unnamed administration officials. He tops the short list.

The Pentagon’s Stars and Stripes publication said he’s the likely choice. An announcement may come this week.

He’ll be Obama’s 4th Pentagon chief if nominated and confirmed. Following Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel.

The New York Times said his “formal nomination is expected in the next few days once the White House completes the vetting process.”

He’s the only top prospect “who did not take himself out of the running for the job.”

According to Center for Strategic and International Studies national security expert Anthony Cordesman,”(i)t’s how much grief you want.”

“There’s a confirmation process where anyone with the political profile which the White House wants would run into a buzz saw in the Senate.”

With Democrats in charge until January, Carter should be confirmed. A number of Republican senators support him.

Hawkish ones. Including James Inhofe (R. OK) and John McCain (R. AZ).

McCain praised Carter’s “insatiable intellectual curiosity.” He’s a Yale summa cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate. A Rhodes Scholar.

An Oxford theoretical physics PhD. A former Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor.

From October 2011 – December 2013, he was Obama’s Deputy Defense Secretary. Its CEO. In charge of daily operations.

From April 2009 – October 2011, he was Obama’s Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Responsible for procuring technology, systems, services, supplies, bases, infrastructure, energy, and R&D.

In eight years of DOD service, he held two of its three top jobs. Even though he never saw active military service. If confirmed as defense secretary, it’ll be all three.

In prior service, he led two national security strategy reviews. Adopted by the White House and Pentagon.

Including Obama’s Asia/Pacific pivot and cyber warfare strategy.

He formulated DOD’s cyber/enterprise IT investment strategy. Its space initiative.

Manned and unmanned systems strategy. Others including intelligence and reconnaissance systems. Special forces. Counterterrorism.

Countering WMDs. Healthcare. Logistics and supply chain. Personnel.

All other aspects of operations, technology and R&D. Including DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and NSA.

He headed manufacturing and logistics programs. Including restructuring the Joint Strike Fighter program. The KC-X tanker. Obama’s 2010 Afghanistan surge.

Cancelled programs. Including the VH-71 presidential helicopter.

Carter is a former Global Technology Partners senior official. Involved in advising technology and defense investment firms.

He was a Goldman Sachs global affairs advisor. At Harvard, he chaired the Kennedy School’s International Relations, Science and Security department.

He currently or previously served on various corporate boards. Including MITRE Corp. Mitretek Systems. Draper Laboratory Corp. MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories.

He’s been a member of the Defense Policy Board. Defense Sciences Board. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.

He’s a member of the President’s Management Council. National Council on Federal-Labor Management Relations.

He’s a Council on Foreign Relations member. An American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow. A right-wing Aspen Strategy Group member.

From 1993 – 1996, he was Clinton’s Assistant Defense Secretary for International Security Policy.

Responsible for formulating former Soviet republics’ policy. Strategic affairs. Nuclear weapons policy.

Senate members previously confirmed him unanimously for DOD number two and three top jobs.

He wrote 11 books. Dozens of articles on physics, technology, national security and management.

In 2013, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey called him “an uber-wonk.” When he left DOD, Dempsey said:

“It’s lucky for us that you have worked without glamor or fame behind the scenes to make sure through good management and common sense and discipline that we are an organization that continues to adapt to the challenge that we find in front of us.”

“He did it all again without fanfare. In fact, I think he’s been called the most important, least known figure in Washington, or some language to that effect, and I agree with that.”

When he resigned, the Washington Post said he was “an uncomfortable understudy to Hagel, given his own ambitions to lead the Pentagon.”

On December 2, AP said he considered himself Hagel’s “alter ego.” As DOD chief, he’ll focus more on Asia/Pacific alliances, AP believes.

Cyber-defense. Countering WMD proliferation. In July 2013, he said DOD requires fresh thinking.

He’s hawkish on Iran. On the one hand supporting diplomacy. On the other, favoring a strike on its nuclear facilities as a possible option. More on this below.

In 2006, he argued for surgically bombing North Korea’s ballistic missile platform. Ahead of a planned test launch at the time.

Saying “(w)e won’t know whether North Korea’s ambitions can be blunted by anything short of the use of force unless and until the US takes the danger seriously and gets in the game.”

“(T)he risk of inaction will prove far greater. The Pyongyang regime will view its stockpile of missiles and nuclear material as tipping the regional balance in its favor and providing a shield behind which it can pursue its interests with impunity.”

“Worse, North Korea has a long history of selling its advanced weapons to countries in the Middle East, and it operates a black market in other forms of contraband.”

His Foreign Affairs article titled “Running the Pentagon Right” argued for “identifying threats as early as possible.”

“This does not mean war-gaming for five to ten years down the line – something the department currently does in its Quadrennial Defense Reviews.”

Rather, it means “determining what troops in the field need at any given moment.”

“Staff at the command or headquarters level are often slow to recognize when a new threat becomes truly dangerous.”

“During a war, the Pentagon must continuously scan the tactical environment and analyze how new dynamics impact the campaign.”

“The challenge for the Pentagon is to lock in gains and make sure the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq are not forgotten.”

“(W)hile the experiences are still fresh. Too many lives were lost in the early years of those wars because the Pentagon failed to keep up with a changing battlefield. Never again should it make the same mistake.”

Carter is unabashedly hawkish. Arguing for “intervening before mortal threats to US security can develop…” In other words, maintaining preemption as an option.

If confirmed, he’ll hit the ground running. Based on his lengthy DOD service. He helped shape policies now being implemented.

It’s unclear where he stands on others. Including possible greater US Iraq and Syria intervention.

Containing Iranian Middle East influence. Confronting Russia over Ukraine.

His reputation is hawkish. So watch out. Expect more war. Not less.

Former congressman Ron Paul thinks so, saying “Americans are told (the nation is involved in) ‘endless’ war.”

Global intervention is official US policy. Paul believes Carter will escalate ongoing wars. His appointment likely signals Obama’s intention to do so.

Hagel believed his job was ending ongoing conflicts. Carter appears polar opposite.

In 2004, he argued for prioritizing America’s intention to “stop adding to the world’s stock of fissile materials, by preventing additional governments, especially those hostile to the United States, from making plutonium or enriching uranium.”

“This will require establishing a clear US strategy – diplomatic at first, but coercive if necessary – for the complete and verifiable elimination of Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs.”

The United States should also seek agreement that no more fissile material for weapons purposes will be produced anywhere, including in India, Pakistan, and Israel.”

In 2008, he was involved in drafting a report titled “Meeting the Challenge: US Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development.”

It claimed Iran intends developing nuclear weapons. “Threatens US and global security, regional stability, and the international nonproliferation regime.” Despite no evidence proving it.

The report recommended “pre-positioning additional US and allied forces, deploying additional aircraft carrier battle groups and minesweepers, emplacing other war material in the region, including additional missile defense batteries, upgrading both regional facilities and allied militaries, and expanding strategic partnerships with countries such as Azerbaijan and Georgia in order to maintain operational pressure from all directions.”

It urged suspending bilateral cooperation with Russia. On nuclear issues. Pressuring it to stop aiding Iran’s nuclear, missile and other weapons programs.

It wants Tehran’s uranium enrichment halted. Its entire nuclear program eliminated. Urges a pre-determined compliance deadline. Respond accordingly otherwise.

By “target(ing) not only Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, but also its conventional military infrastructure in order to suppress an Iranian response.”

“Military action must be viewed as a component of a comprehensive strategy rather than a stand-alone option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.”

“(A) complete strategy (involves) integrating political, economic, and military elements and seeing the matter through to a defined and achievable end.”

“(M)ilitary action by itself will not finish the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions once and for all.”

US strategy should include “containment and punishment.”

“A variety of military measures – air assault, blockade, encirclement, and deterrence – could be elements of such a containment strategy.”

In other words, wage war on Iran. Risking regional conflict. Perhaps spreading globally. Including confronting Russia.

Carter heading DOD means more war. Not less. At a time multiple ongoing conflicts rage.

Previous articles said Obama favors more mass slaughter and destruction. Carter’s appointment appears heading things in this direction.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

– See more at:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.