President Obama's nominee for defense secretary should appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee for confirmation hearings sometime during the first week of February, The Hill reports
, citing information from an unnamed congressional aide.
Ashton Carter is on the mend from a recent back surgery, but is expected to appear before Congress, facing deep questioning on a host of issues concerning the Pentagon, including Guantanamo Bay detainees and a defense budget that is shrinking, The Hill noted.
Carter, 60 and a physicist who previously served as deputy secretary of defense from October 2011 to December 2013, is Obama's nominee to replace Chuck Hagel. He was described by The New York Times
in a profile as "assertive and intellectual" and a leader whose view tracks more with previous Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who had no problem standing up to the White House.
Carter's confirmation hearings are expected to be an attack session by GOP lawmakers against what they see as Obama's weakening of the Pentagon, The Washington Times noted
Carter is no fan of Washington, describing it as much like "being a Christian in the Coliseum," The New York Times reported. "You never know when they are going to release the lions and have you torn apart for the amusement of onlookers.”
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