According to a statement released by his family on Monday, former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who served in the Obama administration during the final two years of his presidency, passed away.
In 2014, Islamic State terrorists had declared a caliphate and taken control of large portions of Iraq and Syria. Carter directed the initial effort by the Pentagon to combat these extremists after they had won control of these areas.
In a previous position at the Pentagon, Carter was in charge of directing the efforts of the military to protect troops from being injured by roadside explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Carter has served as the head of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Harvard University since 2017.
Devastating news about the death of Ash Carter. As Secretary of Defense, longtime public servant, physicist and Harvard scholar, he dedicated his life to our country. I will miss my friend of three decades. https://t.co/uxDJr3cUW1
— Ambassador Nicholas Burns (@USAmbChina) October 25, 2022
According to a statement sent by Carter’s family, Carter passed away in Boston on Monday evening as a result of a “sudden cardiac incident.” He was 68.
“He was a beloved husband, father, mentor, and friend,” the statement said. “His sudden loss will be felt by all who knew him.”
Before being nominated by Obama for the position of secretary of defence, Carter had already held numerous prominent positions at the Pentagon, including the oversight of weapons acquisition and the position of deputy secretary.
He was also a Rhodes Scholar and a theoretical physicist. Carter had no prior experience in the military, in contrast to the majority of his predecessors, including each of Obama’s three former defence chiefs.
Carter was a driving force behind the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle initiative that the Department of Defense undertook to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Deeply shocked to learn about the passing away of former US Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
He was great to work with and a strong supporter of our defense relationship. He was also a global strategist who was always thought provoking.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) October 25, 2022
In his role as Deputy Defense Secretary at the time, Ash Carter gave an interview to USA TODAY in 2012, during which he stated that personnel riding in the trucks had a 14 times greater chance of surviving a bomb detonation than those riding in Humvees.
After reading an article in USA Today about the MRAP vehicles, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates made acquiring them a major priority for the Department of Defense. According to Gates, MRAPs were responsible for saving the lives of thousands of people.
Carter became involved in the attempts to train and deploy bomb-sniffing dogs and urged the Pentagon to increase the amount of surveillance technology that was deployed to battlefields. This was done in an effort to protect the troops.
So sad about the sudden loss of Ash Carter: an outstanding public servant and a wise advisor. A painful reminder of our fragility.
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) October 25, 2022
In November of 2014, President Obama put Carter’s name forward for the position of Defense Secretary. The way that the military dealt with its personnel under Carter’s watch underwent significant shifts beginning in 2015.
All combat positions were made available to women, open service for transgender service members was authorised, and the retirement system of the military was updated to include 401(k) options for active-duty personnel.
Late in 2015, Carter issued an order that led to the deployment of special operations personnel, which were supported by a bombing campaign spearheaded by the United States and were intended to train and help local ground forces in retaking territory from ISIS fighters.
In the end, the war was successful in rolling back ISIS’s gains and destroying their cruel caliphate governance structure; but, militants are still present. Carter’s family includes his wife Stephanie and his kids Ava and Will.
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