Carter Hold Is Off

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in an April 23 statement said he was “pleased to lift my hold on Dr. [Ashton] Carter’s nomination” to take the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer job following a “productive conversation” Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) had with Defense Secretary Robert Gates that day. Sessions said, “I was pleased to hear the Secretary reaffirm his commitment to a fair and transparent process that will deliver the best airplane to our troops. … Dr. Carter, a capable and qualified nominee, has made a similar commitment and has indicated his desire to move forward with a competition that selects the aircraft with the most capability for the taxpayers’ money.” Once Shelby and Sessions lifted the hold they had placed on Carter’s nomination, the full Senate confirmed him that same day. According to a report from Reuters, Shelby said the subject of splitting the KC-X tanker program between Boeing and Northrop Grumman did not come up. (See above, “Tanker Share Consensus Grows”) Shelby told Reuters that Gates “did not outline specific criteria,” but indicated that cost would not be the only factor. Shelby said, “At this point that’s all I can ask for.”