Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Adviser Harlan Ullman writes for Defense News on challenges Ash Carter will face as Secretary of Defense:
When Ash Carter takes the oath of office as the US secretary of defense, he will be caught on the horns of an excruciating dilemma. If unresolved, the long-term consequence will be a 21st century replay of the “hollow force” that arose after the Vietnam War ended. That force was unready and largely incapable of carrying out all its duties to defend the nation.
The first and very visible horn of this dilemma is White House guidance. One of many reasons Carter was chosen for the post is that he is highly experienced, hence a “safe pair of hands” who is unlikely to do “stupid stuff.”