What Would SecDef Ashton Carter Mean for the Military?

by | Dec 4, 2014


We know from RPI Chairman Ron Paul that President Obama’s choice to be the next Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, will mean no big changes in current US foreign and military policy.

International correspondent Pepe Escobar informs us that Carter is:

…the typical Beltway apparatchik – profiting from the revolving door between the military, heavy industry and academia.

He was and remains a key actor in the ever evolving “policy” of demonization of Russia.

Carter was also panicking about (non-existent) Iraqi and Iranian WMDs as long ago as 1996, and he supported a military strike against North Korea if they tested a ballistic missile.

In short, in terms of US policy he is going to be very bad news. Expect no push-back from Pentagon leadership against the increasingly ambitious interventionists and hawks in the House, Senate, White House, and media.

But there is another angle to the selection of Ashton Carter to become the next Defense Secretary. What does it mean for the military?

Military expert and friend of RPI, Winslow Wheeler, who is Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, emailed us earlier today with his take on an Ashton Carter Defense Secretaryship. Writes Wheeler:

What can we can expect from Ashton Carter as Defense Secretary: put simply, business as usual — but better articulated than recently.

More specifically we can expect the new Defense Secretary to wholeheartedly support the Air Force’s long-standing campaign to unload itself of the A-10 ground support aircraft (relatively inexpensive and highly favored by military personnel. -DM), to spend billions of dollars for a new generation of nuclear weapons, and to continue his record as an advocate of permanent war, among other things. Indeed, Carter would seem a perfect fit for the lame duck version of the Obama White House.

Andrew Cockburn writes in the Los Angeles Time on Monday of the heating up battle to scrap the A-10 “Warthog,” a close support aircraft that saves lives of soldiers on the ground but is being scrapped in favor of the F-35, which Cockburn calls “gold-plated clunker, years late and staggeringly over budget.”

Why do Congress and the bigwigs want to scrap the Warthog in favor of the totally inadequate F-35? It’s all about the money. The F-35 production spends billions of dollars in literally every state in the union and makes the military-industrial complex even richer.

This is exactly the kind of deadly game expected to continue under an Ashton Carter-led Pentagon. This is the world Carter comes from. Soldiers are to be rushed into harm’s way at the drop of a hat, but the equipment they are given is not judged by how safe it keeps them but by how rich it makes the well-connected.

Wheeler urges us to listen to an interview conduced yesterday with Pierre Sprey, who played a major role in the design of the F-16 and A-10 combat aircraft and has been an up-close and personal observer of internal Defense Department affairs for decades.

Carter will be bad for the military, but great for the military-industrial complex.


  • Daniel McAdams

    Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and co-Producer/co-Host, Ron Paul Liberty Report. Daniel served as the foreign affairs, civil liberties, and defense/intel policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, MD (R-Texas) from 2001 until Dr. Paul’s retirement at the end of 2012. From 1993-1999 he worked as a journalist based in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled through the former communist bloc as a human rights monitor and election observer.

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