Just shy of three months since Chuck Hagel was obliged to vacate the position, the Obama administration has a new secretary of defense — and Ashton Carter has his work cut out for him.

Here’s the lowdown from The Guardian:

Ashton Carter was confirmed as secretary of defense on Thursday after the Senate delivered more than 90 votes to approve him, putting the Pentagon veteran in charge of the US military at a time of violent crises in eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense who is well-liked by many in congressional circles, was perfunctorily confirmed 93-5 to succeed the outgoing secretary, Chuck Hagel. Hagel was forced out of the post in November, after a sometimes confused and embattled tenure.

President Barack Obama hailed the confirmation in a statement: “With his decades of experience, Ash will keep our military strong as we continue the fight against terrorist networks, modernize our alliances, and invest in new capabilities to keep our armed forces prepared for long-term threats.”

Carter encountered a brief bump on the road to his appointment last week, when his takes on Ukraine and Afghanistan conflicted with the president’s, but all was apparently resolved before Thursday’s announcement.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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