US

Carter confident his successor will be ready to take command

  • FLE - In this March 5, 2013, file photo, then-Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

    FLE - In this March 5, 2013, file photo, then-Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Defense Department.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Oct. 26, 2016, file photo, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council Defence Ministers session at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Carter said Monday, Dec. 5, that he believes his designated successor, if confirmed by the Senate as expected, will be a quick study of the office's responsibilities. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)

    FILE- In this Oct. 26, 2016, file photo, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrives for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council Defence Ministers session at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Carter said Monday, Dec. 5, that he believes his designated successor, if confirmed by the Senate as expected, will be a quick study of the office's responsibilities. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he believes his designated successor, if confirmed by the Senate as expected, will quickly have command of the office's responsibilities.

Carter declined to offer his view of whether President-elect Donald Trump's choice of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis undermines the principle of civilian control of the military.

Because Mattis has been out of uniform for fewer than seven years, which is the minimum required by law, his nomination will require new legislation to override the prohibition.

In an interview with reporters flying with him to Tokyo, Carter said questions about preserving the principle of civilian control of the military will be considered by the Congress.