Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was finally formally nominated to replace Chuck Hagel as the head of the Defense Department today, after days of speculation.
Carter was the fallback nominee after several people reported as top choices of President Obama all publicly rejected the post. Though Senate Republicans are backing Carter as a choice, his status as the only person who would take the job is likely to undermine his authority.
Carter had been seen as a potential candidate when Hagel was selected, and left office shortly thereafter. He is seen as a fairly straightforward hawk, and in 2006 he pushed for the Bush Administration to attack North Korea over its nuclear program.
At the time, Carter even conceded that the attacks risked starting a major war on the peninsula that would lead to tens of thousands of deaths, but insisted it would “be worth it” to destroy North Korea’s nuclear plant.
Carter was also typical of the anti-Iran hawks in arguing that deterrence doesn’t work against Iran because of its “extremist ideology,” and claiming that even a civilian Iranian nuclear program would threaten the entire region, and repeatedly insisted that military action was a vital part of a “comprehensive strategy” against Iran.