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SECNAV Del Toro Statement on the Passing of Former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

25 October 2022

Statement from Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro:

It is with great sadness that the Department of the Navy mourns the passing of former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, a lifelong public servant, and a tireless supporter of our men and women in uniform. He will always be remembered for his leadership in the international campaign to deliver a lasting defeat to the Islamic State, and for his historic decision to open all military occupational specialties to women.

But he is also remembered in the Pentagon as a leader who always put people first, looking out for the quality of life issues that impact the lives of all who serve and the military families who serve at their side. Under his leadership, the Department of Defense implemented many personnel reforms to develop a “Force of the Future,” expanding opportunities to serve, increasing connections with innovative private sector companies and academia, and accelerating the transformation of the Department of Defense to meet the challenges of renewed strategic competition.

He always encouraged senior Department of Defense leaders to “think outside of the five-sided box”, and to never be satisfied with the status quo. In his earlier service as Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, he challenged assumptions regarding acquisition timelines, and pushed to design, develop, and deploy life-saving equipment like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle on an accelerated timeline that ultimately saved the lives of American service members deployed in Afghanistan and elsewhere.  He continued his transformation efforts as Deputy Secretary of Defense, streamlining the business functions of the Department of Defense to deliver greater value and results for both the American taxpayer and the warfighter.

On behalf of every Sailor, Marine, and civilian in the Department of the Navy, my wife Betty and I extend our deepest condolences to Secretary Carter’s wife Stephanie, their children Ava and Will, and the entire Carter family during this difficult time.  


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