Carter, Not Hagel, to Brief the Defense Budget on Capitol Hill

One of Ashton Carter’s first jobs as defense secretary? Head to Capitol Hill to present and defend the Pentagon’s 2016 budget, a planning document he’s had little opportunity to shape.

Chuck Hagel, who is planning to stay on as SecDef until his successor is sworn in, was expected to handle the annual round of congressional budget hearings. But, according to defense and Hill sources, that task is now going to fall to Carter, who only stepped down as deputy defense secretary a year ago.

Because work on the defense budget begins at least a year out, it’s likely Carter was involved in the early stages of the 2016 budget. But even with a Pentagon pro like Carter, who knows the department inside and out, the budget schedule will throw him into some of the thorniest acquisition and personnel issues right off the bat.

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