Vice President Biden on Tuesday formally swore in Ashton Carter to be the Obama administration’s fourth Defense secretary.
“If anyone is made for this job, if there’s a job description that fits a person, this is the guy that fits the job description,” Biden said before administering the oath of office in the White House’s Roosevelt Room.
Biden called Carter a “profoundly capable manager” who has earned the “respect and affection” of the people who have worked for him.
Carter, 60, is the nation’s 25th Pentagon chief.
He breezed through his Senate confirmation process. The Senate Armed Services Committee early last week unanimously approved Carter’s nomination. The full chamber later confirmed Carter in a 93-5 vote.
Biden lauded the vote, saying he and Carter “got to talk more,” before thanking Carter for getting the Senate “back in harness.”
Biden also joked that Carter, who previously served as the Pentagon’s No. 2 official and chief weapons buyer, never left the administration even though Carter stepped down in 2013 after being passed over for Chuck Hagel.
“Even when you were allegedly gone, we never let you go,” Biden said. “The president didn’t like it when you weren’t here, Ash. It made it harder for me.”
Carter met earlier Tuesday at the Pentagon with other top civilian leaders and had a one-on-one sit down with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.
He said he recognized “we’re entering the fourth quarter” of Obama’s presidency and that he would work to “ensure those years are productive” and that they “leave our country’s future in the best possible place and the best possible hands.”
Carter is set to meet with the president Tuesday afternoon.