According to a statement released by his family on Tuesday, Ash Carter, a former US defence secretary who served under President Obama, passed away late on Monday at the age of 68 from a sudden cardiac attack.
Carter, a longtime defence expert who gradually rose to the top position at the Pentagon, assisted in overseeing the implementation of a military strategy that would eventually be used to drive out the Islamic State from Syria and Iraq.
Under Carter, the US military overturned a restriction on openly serving transgender service personnel and opened up all military positions to women. He was quite critical of Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate the ban in 2017.
‘To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military,’ Carter said at the time.
Carter held the positions of deputy defence secretary and Pentagon COO before being appointed defence secretary in 2015. While leading a significant redesign of the F-35 fighter jet programme from 2009 to 2011, he also handled the Defence Department’s acquisition of weaponry.
‘Carter always set politics aside; he served presidents of both parties over five administrations, holding multiple positions within the Department of Defense,’ his family said in the statement.