Sen. Deb Fischer plans to vote for Defense Secretary-designate Ash Carter and expects him to have more success than outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Carter has been chosen by President Barak Obama as the person to succeed Hagel, who reportedly had clashes with the president’s inner circle in the White House.
Carter, who is 60, is a veteran of both Washington and the Pentagon. He is a physicist who has held a number of posts in the Pentagon, dating as far back as the administration of President Jimmy Carter.
Carter made a number of statements during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee which could put him at odds with the president, including being open to review troop levels in Afghanistan and cautious about releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Fischer, a member of the Armed Services Committee, says Carter has more experience at the Pentagon than Hagel, a former United States Senator from Nebraska.
“Secretary Hagel probably didn’t have as solid a base on those issues and had some problems then as Secretary of Defense,” Fischer tells Nebraska reporters during a conference call, a reference to reports Hagel had frequent run-ins with the White House.
Fischer adds reports surfaced in Washington that Hagel didn’t speak up during meetings of the president’s cabinet.
Fischer says Carter gave the committee assurances that he would have no qualms with being straight-forward with the president. Fischer believes Carter will be able to penetrate President Obama’s tight inner circle.
“He won’t be shy about giving his advice on what he believes are the best policies for our military and for the defense of this country,” according to Fischer.
Fischer says Carter is seen in Washington as a professional with wide experience who has a deep understanding of the Pentagon that would serve him well as Secretary of Defense.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]