Ashton Carter, 60, was sworn in Tuesday as the new U.S. secretary of defense, becoming the fourth defense chief during President Barack Obama’s six-year tenure in the White House. He replaces former defense secretary Chuck Hagel.
With a snow fall closing most federal government offices in Washington, Carter was sworn in at the White House in a ceremony hosted by Vice President Joe Biden.
A senior defense official said his message to the Department of Defense is that "now is the time for the nation to grab hold of opportunities." The official added that despite danger and turbulence around the world, the new secretary is "prepared to make tough decisions to defend the country and support the men and women of the department."
Carter spent part of his first day meeting with Pentagon officials, including the deputy defense chief, Bob Work; the Army, Navy and Air Force secretaries and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey.
President Obama planned to meet with him later in the day.