- - Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Ash Carter is expected to be nominated by President Obama to replace Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary, CNN is reporting. 

Mr. Carter served under both Mr. Hagel and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Other high-profile contenders such as Michele Flournoy and Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, withdrew from contention.

Mr. Hagel resigned under pressure last week.

David Sedney, who served under Mr. Obama from 2009-2013 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, said Mr. Hagel’s replacement “will be in a difficult position.”

Chuck Hagel appears to be getting pushed out because of criticism the administration has faced over its national security policies and because of the overall weakness of those policies,” Mr. Sedney said.

“These issues that have bedeviled the administration are from decisions made inside the White House, not at the defense or state departments,” he said, adding that such problems will likely dominate defense secretary confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill and can be expected to continue going forward.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest would not confirm reports that the president has selected Mr. Carter, but said he served “very ably” as deputy Defense secretary in the administration and possesses a “detailed understanding” of the Pentagon.

“He is somebody who did serve the president and the American people well,” Mr. Earnest said. He added that the Senate confirmed him for the previous Pentagon post by unanimous consent, saying Mr. Carter “certainly deserves and has demonstrated strong bipartisan support.”

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