Carter: 'I'm very confident in our force'

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Thursday expressed confidence in the state of the U.S. military as he prepares to give up his post.

"I'm very confident in our force," Carter told CNN's "New Day."

"I'm confident in where we're going. I'm confident in what we're doing today in counter ISIL, Iraq and Syria, dealing with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, all those current issues that we have."


Carter added that he's also confident "with the direction this place is headed."

He said in an interview earlier this month that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's "days are numbered."

"I'm just confident,” Carter told Charlie Rose in a PBS interview Thursday. “I don't want to say any more than that, but I wouldn't want to be a senior ISIL leader. Many of them have died already. The more we do, the more we learn about where they are. So, his days are numbered and that's true of all the rest of the leadership."

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE has tapped retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his nominee to take over for Carter.

Mattis, who retired in spring 2013, most recently served as head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. wars in the Middle East.

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday voted 26-1 to back Mattis’s confirmation, setting him up to be confirmed by the full Senate shortly after Trump’s inauguration Friday.