SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the passing of Ash Carter, who served as Secretary of Defense under former President Barack Obama from February 2015 to January 2017.

"Today we mourn the loss of Ash Carter, a dedicated public servant and educator. Secretary Carter firmly believed that the United States’ democratic values should drive national security policy at home and abroad. Under his leadership as Secretary of Defense, the Department introduced historic reforms to advance equal rights for all service members – laying the groundwork for transgender Americans to serve openly and ending policies that barred women from various combat roles in the military. He also introduced new strategies for the U.S. and NATO to confront Russia’s aggression, executed the strategic decision to focus on the Asia-Pacific, and led the creation of the military campaign and international coalition to defeat ISIS.

"Ash Carter worked for the American people in various roles across five administrations of Democratic and Republican presidents before entering academia and leveraging his unmatched expertise to train the next generation of policy professionals. Because of Secretary Carter’s years of service, our country’s military is more inclusive and our world is safer. My thoughts are with his loved ones and everyone whose lives he touched."