Ashton Carter went to the Pentagon on Thursday for the first time since he was nominated in early December by President Obama to replace Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
Carter, a former deputy defense secretary, met with Hagel in his Pentagon office for their first face-to-face discussions on a wide range of security issues since Hagel made his surprise resignation in late November, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.
The meeting was held to help Carter in his preparations for confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which were expected to begin in early February, Kirby said in a statement.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the new SASC chairman, had hoped to conduct the hearings later this month but delayed them to allow Carter to recover from recent back surgery.
Hagel's abrupt resignation in November after two years as defense secretary reportedly followed on a series of disputes with White House national security aides on the micromanagement of defense policy.
Hagel did not attend the White House ceremony at which Obama formally announced Carter's nomination. At the time, Hagel was taking off from Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on a final visit to the troops in Afghanistan.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com.