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US Senate Approves Ashton Carter as New Pentagon Chief

Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama’s choice to be defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to replace Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief, on Capitol Hill, Washington, Feb. 4, 2015.

The U.S. Senate voted on Thursday to confirm Ashton Carter as President Barack Obama's next secretary of defense.

Carter, 60, served as deputy defense secretary, the Pentagon's No. 2 position, from 2011-2013. He was also the Defense Department's chief weapons buyer from 2009-2011 when he led a major restructuring of the F-35 fighter jet program.

At his confirmation hearing on February 4, Carter underscored his determination to boost the U.S. defense budget, drive down the cost of new weapons and make sure new technologies are delivered to troops quicker.

He also told lawmakers he was leaning in favor of providing arms to Ukraine but later cautioned that the focus of the international community's efforts to handle the crisis must remain on pressuring Russia economically and politically.

Carter will be Obama's fourth defense secretary, succeeding Chuck Hagel, who resigned under pressure last year.