Ashton Carter, U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to be secretary of defense, testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Feb. 4, 2015.
Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Senate confirms Ashton Carter as defense secretary

The Senate on Thursday easily approved President Barack Obama’s pick to head the Pentagon, confirming the fourth secretary of defense in six years.

In a 93 to 5 vote, the Senate approved Ashton Carter to head the Department of Defense to help lead the U.S. response to Islamic extremists, Russian-back militants in Ukraine, and an end to the war in Afghanistan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said before that vote that he would support Carter, but he expects him “to speak truth to power.”

Carter has promised to deliver candid advice to the White House, and in his confirmation hearing said he favors changing the Obama administration’s currently policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine.

Read more on NBCNews.com.

Ashton Carter

Senate confirms Ashton Carter as defense secretary