President Barack Obama’s final defence secretary, Ashton Carter, has passed away, according to his family. He was 68.
From February 2015 until January 2017, Carter served as the Defense Department’s secretary. On Monday night in Boston, Carter experienced a “sudden cardiac episode,” according to a statement from his family. His spouse Stephanie, as well as his kids Will and Ava, survive him.
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Carter oversaw US attempts to battle the growth of ISIS in the Middle East, which included the deployment of US soldiers, as well as the final years of US participation in Afghanistan under Obama’s presidency. During his administration, efforts were made to allow more women to serve in combat capacities and to abolish the restriction on transgender people serving openly.
Following Chuck Hagel’s forced resignation as defense secretary in November 2014, Carter was given the responsibility of dealing with the growth of ISIS, which at that point had seized a sizeable portion of Iraq. Obama had prioritized removing US military personnel from Iraq as part of his foreign policy, but he finally decided to send more soldiers back to combat the terrorist organization.
Today we mourn the passing of former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and celebrate a leader who left America—and the world—safer through his lifetime of service. Michelle and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Ash’s wife, children, and all those who loved him. pic.twitter.com/O7zOZ5asmd
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 25, 2022
In 2016, Carter, using a different moniker for the organization, told reporters during a visit to Baghdad that it was “essential but not sufficient” to eradicate ISIL in Iraq and Syria since here is where it all started and is what I have referred to as the “parent tumour of the disease.”
Then, he declared, “Like cancer, ISIL has spread to other countries and it also threatens our homelands.”Carter oversaw the opening of all combat jobs in the US military to women, and in 2016, the Pentagon eliminated a prohibition on openly transgender people serving.
He declared at the time that the choice was “a matter of principle” after researching the matter for about a year.
“We don’t want obstacles that have nothing to do with a person’s eligibility to serve to stand in the way of our hiring or keeping the Marine, soldier, sailor, or airman who is best suited to complete the task.
All of America’s citizens must be reachable, he said. Even though they are limited in number, he continued, “we’re talking about smart and educated Americans who are serving their nation with distinction and respect.” We want to seize the chance to keep on board those whose potential we’ve backed and who have proven themselves.
According to his Department of Defense biography, Carter had a long and illustrious career in government. He was regarded as a “technocrat” in part because of his degrees in theoretical physics and medieval history from Yale and Oxford.
He also wrote or co-wrote 11 books and more than 100 articles on physics, technology, national security, and management. His career started in 1981 when he joined the Office of Technology Assessment, International Security and Commerce Program for Congress as an analyst.
What a shock. This man was a truly kind and wise public servant. He was always learning and wanting to better this country and protect it: Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter dies at 68 https://t.co/iNpDc2w1N8
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) October 25, 2022
He worked at the Pentagon for President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1996 as assistant secretary of defense for international security strategy and from 2009 to 2011 as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.
Obama was searching for a new defense secretary in late 2014, after the Republicans took control of the Senate, who could not only better address the emergence of ISIS but also be confirmed. “Having served both Republican and Democratic Secretaries, he’s regarded and trusted on both sides of the aisle,” Obama said in announcing Carter as his choice.
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The announcement received a lot of positive feedback. He was referred to as “one of America’s most recognized defense officials, revered by Republicans and Democrats alike” by Sen. John McCain, the next Republican head of the Armed Services Committee.
Carter was approved by the Senate with a 93 to 5 vote. The highest honour offered to departmental civilians, the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, was given to Carter several times.
He was the Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and the director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the time of his passing.