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Ashton Carter is the Last Man Standing to Replace Chuck Hagel

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    CNN and other outlets are reporting that President Obama will be nominating the former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to succeed Secretary Hagel at the Defense Department. If confirmed he will take over a Defense Department that has been at constant odds with a President who likes to keep more options on the table than always using military force for everything that's going wrong around the world.

    Carter was the Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013 and was also Undersecretary of Defense from 2009 to 2011. He is a theoretical physicist and former Harvard professor who has a specialization in nuclear policy and managing large budgets.

    I've been reading up on Carter for the past few days and I have to say I'm a little concerned that President Obama is trying to appease Senator McCain instead of picking the best person for the job. Carter will likely face little push back from hawks like McCain, but some of his positions might give liberals reason for concern. I would have much rather seen Obama pick a fight with his 2008 rival, but it looks like he has chosen not to.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I heard a little bit about him tonight on the news. Sounds like he is very experienced and very intelligent.
    One thing that was mentioned as a negative is that he never served in the military. That means a lot to some.
    Not so much for me. We're not asking him to be a soldier, just to make good decisions regarding our soldiers.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Tony Johnson Wrote: I heard a little bit about him tonight on the news. Sounds like he is very experienced and very intelligent.
    One thing that was mentioned as a negative is that he never served in the military. That means a lot to some.
    Not so much for me. We're not asking him to be a soldier, just to make good decisions regarding our soldiers.
    I noticed that he was the "specialist" who did the procurement for the Pentagon; the tie in with McCain is obvious because of McCain's lobby ties to Lockheed and Honywell. So I think this is bad news; they both "profit" from this procurement; the more the better. It is the "money" honey!!!!
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I've said for a long time that people in government who decide what and how much should be bought should not be allowed to own any stock in those companies. It should be monitored like Insider Trading.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Tony Johnson Wrote: I've said for a long time that people in government who decide what and how much should be bought should not be allowed to own any stock in those companies. It should be monitored like Insider Trading.
    Tony, I doubt if they "own stock" in their own names; they are very smart if it concerns money; remember Romney having nice bankaccounts on the Caymans?
    They are getting their money in such a way that they don't get caught; via a undisclosed "trail" and kickbacks which can't be traced.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I assume Ashton Carter will get approved. However, is it a hopeless task? Here's what Fareed Zakahria had to say:

    Washington Post, December, 4, 2014: Can Ashton Carter rein in a Pentagon out of control?

    "Chuck Hagel may not have been able to work with the ever more powerfulNational Security Council staff, but this discussion of personalities misses the point. The key to success for a defense secretary today is the ability to manage not White House aides but rather the Pentagon, which is the world's most complicated and most dysfunctional bureaucracy."

    Zakaria goes on to describe Defense Department spending at about $600 billion a year, and more than the entire GDP of Poland, employing 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians and 700,000 full-time contractors, an organization so "vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough audit of them."

    The Defense budget sucks the lifeblood out of other needed projects, and without much debate or push back from Congress. Indeed “the military-industrial-congressional complex”as Zakaria calls it is ripe with waste in pet projects of politicians that answer to their benefactors and not the tax payers.

    So Dutch...if you want to get your blood pressure up, read Zakaria's entire article. He hasn't said much that you haven't said many times in this website.

    To answer Zakaria's question in the title of his article, no...I don't think Ashton Carter can rein in the spending of what Robert Gates calls, the “gargantuan, labyrinthine bureaucracy”. If Gates couldn't do it, Carter can't either.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: Zakaria goes on to describe Defense Department spending at about $600 billion a year, and more than the entire GDP of Poland, employing 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians and 700,000 full-time contractors, an organization so "vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough audit of them."

    The Defense budget sucks the lifeblood out of other needed projects, and without much debate or push back from Congress. Indeed “the military-industrial-congressional complex”as Zakaria calls it is ripe with waste in pet projects of politicians that answer to their benefactors and not the tax payers.
    This is an excellent example of how difficult it is to put a genie back in the bottle once you let it out. So many jobs are now dependent on the military industrial complex that it could very well cause another global recession if it is drastically altered. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year are spent either directly or indirectly on the military. That number is so astronomically high that it is, as Zakaria says, impossible to do an thorough audit of where all of this money actually goes. How we have allowed this to happen in our lifetimes is baffling and something we will have to reckon with some day in the not too distant future.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote: Zakaria goes on to describe Defense Department spending at about $600 billion a year, and more than the entire GDP of Poland, employing 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians and 700,000 full-time contractors, an organization so "vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough audit of them."

    The Defense budget sucks the lifeblood out of other needed projects, and without much debate or push back from Congress. Indeed “the military-industrial-congressional complex”as Zakaria calls it is ripe with waste in pet projects of politicians that answer to their benefactors and not the tax payers.
    This is an excellent example of how difficult it is to put a genie back in the bottle once you let it out. So many jobs are now dependent on the military industrial complex that it could very well cause another global recession if it is drastically altered. Hundreds of billions of dollars a year are spent either directly or indirectly on the military. That number is so astronomically high that it is, as Zakaria says, impossible to do an thorough audit of where all of this money actually goes. How we have allowed this to happen in our lifetimes is baffling and something we will have to reckon with some day in the not too distant future.
    I guess, as AMC will say: This keeps America safe!!! ( Sure from all the money "robbers" in the Pentagon; I'll call the police; I guess not, they are as bad)
    Jared and Schmidt exellent mail. !!!
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Tony Johnson Wrote: I've said for a long time that people in government who decide what and how much should be bought should not be allowed to own any stock in those companies. It should be monitored like Insider Trading.


    For Congress insider trading is allowed.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    johnnycee Wrote:
    Tony Johnson Wrote: I've said for a long time that people in government who decide what and how much should be bought should not be allowed to own any stock in those companies. It should be monitored like Insider Trading.


    For Congress insider trading is allowed.
    I guess much more is allowed of which we as the public will never hear about, like the NSA, Snowden story. Aren't you a bit surprised that lately the ISIS happening is dead quiet? How many civilians did we kill again? What is the real cost of it all? How many towns did we flatten; nothing is left except rubble of that city against the Turkish border. Sure the Pentagon will make sure it is all swiped under the rug. Obama's election of this new guy, shows he is "powerless" the Pentagon runs the show with the full support of certain congressional members who profit from it; the "military" lobby is the strongest there is and the "margins" on equipment are "huge"; a plasic toilet seat cost now $800.- for instance. This new guy knows extreemly well how the procurement works, so he will do very well for himself indeed. Sorry to say Obama closes his eyes, because he does not dare to touch it, because it is a huge cancer for which they have no medicine.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    The overpriced items like the famous toilet seat and hammer are how the various Armed Services funds their black ops programs.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    The Ash Carter era at the Pentagon officially began today. Vice President Biden administered the oath of office to Carter at a White House ceremony. He is President Obama's fourth Secretary of Defense and takes over at a time of rising tensions in the Middle-East and Eastern Europe.

    You can watch the full ceremony and Carter's speech here:

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: I assume Ashton Carter will get approved. However, is it a hopeless task? Here's what Fareed Zakahria had to say:

    Washington Post, December, 4, 2014: Can Ashton Carter rein in a Pentagon out of control?

    "Chuck Hagel may not have been able to work with the ever more powerfulNational Security Council staff, but this discussion of personalities misses the point. The key to success for a defense secretary today is the ability to manage not White House aides but rather the Pentagon, which is the world's most complicated and most dysfunctional bureaucracy."

    Zakaria goes on to describe Defense Department spending at about $600 billion a year, and more than the entire GDP of Poland, employing 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians and 700,000 full-time contractors, an organization so "vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough audit of them."

    The Defense budget sucks the lifeblood out of other needed projects, and without much debate or push back from Congress. Indeed “the military-industrial-congressional complex”as Zakaria calls it is ripe with waste in pet projects of politicians that answer to their benefactors and not the tax payers.

    So Dutch...if you want to get your blood pressure up, read Zakaria's entire article. He hasn't said much that you haven't said many times in this website.

    To answer Zakaria's question in the title of his article, no...I don't think Ashton Carter can rein in the spending of what Robert Gates calls, the “gargantuan, labyrinthine bureaucracy”. If Gates couldn't do it, Carter can't either.
    Indeed Schmidt; my blood pressure did hit the ceiling; McCain is having a huge party at his house; I was not invited.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    There we go again; actually our "new" president; since the Pentagon runs this country. Accounting, which he did is a complete joke; no return on investment at all; money flies out of the door even more right now and in the future with this guy.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Dutch Wrote: There we go again; actually our "new" president; since the Pentagon runs this country. Accounting, which he did is a complete joke; no return on investment at all; money flies out of the door even more right now and in the future with this guy.
    I don't know if it will fly out the door more than it is now, but that's setting the bar pretty low. Budget sequestration hamstrings the Pentagon from spending more, and that won't change with a new Secretary.

    I would disagree that we have no returns on investments though. Like it or not, the military is responsible for many things we are dependent on in our regular lives. From the internet to interstate highways, the military has played an important role in the average American's daily life. That doesn't mean that we should just keep spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year in an attempt to be the worlds policemen, but it also doesn't mean we have seen no return on investment whatsoever.