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Former Pentagon chief dies — RT World News


Ashton Carter, who served as Secretary of Defense under former US President Barack Obama, has died aged 68. Carter oversaw the arming of Ukraine and the US intervention in Syria, and welcomed transgender troops into the US military.

Carter’s family announced his death on Tuesday, saying the former Pentagon chief had suffered a heart attack the night before. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Carter served as Obama’s second Secretary of Defense, succeeding Chuck Hagel in 2015 and serving in the role until James Mattis was appointed by Donald Trump in 2017.

As a US-backed coup overthrew democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych a year earlier, Carter promised early in his term to increase US military aid to the pro-Western replacement. by Yanukovych, Piotr Poroshenko. With the United States sending more than $1 billion to kyiv during his tenure, Carter said in 2019 that this aid “was critical” in rebuilding the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The US air campaign in Syria began several months before Carter was nominated, and Carter told US lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would ensure that “lasting defeat” of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). However, he was a vocal critic of Russia’s campaign against the terror group and claimed in 2015 that Moscow would invite retaliation from Islamist militants for its actions.

The Russian military operation in Syria ultimately resulted in the defeat of terrorist groups in the country, including ISIS.


Back in the United States, Carter was hailed by liberals and condemned by conservatives for his 2016 decision to allow transgender people to openly join and serve in the military. This decision remains controversial to this day. Mattis reinstated the transgender ban in 2018, while current Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin overturned it again in 2021.

A physicist by training, Carter had served in the US government since the 1990s. After leading the Clinton administration’s policy toward the former Soviet Union, he worked on Pentagon procurement during Obama’s first term and was promoted to Under Secretary of Defense in 2011.

While the Obama administration signed a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015, Carter had previously been a proponent of “preventive” military strikes against the Islamic Republic. He also supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and spoke out in favor of the bombing of North Korea in 2006.

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