U.S. President Barack Obama nominates former Pentagon official Ash Carter (L) to be his next defense secretary, at the White House in Washington December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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President Barack Obama's pick to be the next defense secretary, Ashton Carter, will inherit a tense relationship between the U.S. military and the White House that is unlikely to ease even with a fresh face at the Pentagon.Two former defense secretaries, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, both complained bitterly in recently published memoirs that Obama's White House distrusts the military and often tries to shut out the Pentagon from decision-making.The White House Thursday sought to play down the tension with the Pentagon during Obama's tenure, saying such friction is "not unique to this administration".Carter's views, however, have not always been in synch with the administration.Carter's background in academia, industry and Pentagon management resembles another former defense secretary who has also served as his mentor, William Perry, who was defense secretary during Bill Clinton's presidency in the 1990s.Perry has described Carter as "hard-charging".If confirmed, Carter will arrive with an intimate knowledge of the Pentagon bureaucracy but he has never managed a war and has less experience with the volatile politics of the Middle East.
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