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  • Writer's pictureMark Adams

Unveiling of Ash Carter Portrait

Ash Carter Honored with Official Portrait at Pentagon Ceremony

Feb. 02, 2018

Ash Carter, America’s 25th Secretary of Defense and Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was honored with the unveiling of his official portrait at the Pentagon today. At a ceremony featuring current Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Senator Richard Lugar, former members of Congress Jane Harman and Buck McKeon, British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch, and other dignitaries, Carter was recognized for 35 years of extraordinary service to the nation.

Mattis praised Carter for his rare combination of leadership skill, technical mastery, and strategic acumen – and for his courage in telling hard truths. Above all, he cited former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s remarks that Carter embodied both moral and emotional intelligence in fulfilling his public service with great integrity.

“You came into office facing a grave challenge in the Middle East as a barbarian caliphate sought to impose its brutality and butchery upon millions,” Mattis said of Carter’s time as defense secretary. “Under your leadership, America’s military summoned the strength to answer the challenge. At the same time, your tenure was marked by a time of new approaches in technology, space and cyberspace.”

Carter spoke at length about the inspiration he drew daily from American’s men and women in uniform. There is no higher calling for young people, he reminded the audience, than to devote themselves to the security and defense of their country. He ended with a call for more of America to reflect the honor and decency that defines the US military.

Carter’s portrait, by Mark Adams, will hang in the hallway outside Secretary Mattis's office alongside the portraits of all past defense secretaries.

Article first published at

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