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Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday said goodbye to the Defense Department workforce during a ceremony at the Pentagon. His final working day is Wednesday, but the Dec. 2 ceremony was his official farewell. "It's been the greatest privilege of my life," said Carter of his time in the office. He joined the Pentagon under the Obama Administration in April 2009 as acquisition executive; he became the deputy defense secretary in October 2011. This past October, he announced he'd be stepping down. "His career in public service is a model for all who aspire to real and effective public service," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. "Throughout his career, Ash Carter has shown again and again that he can translate his high ideals into better, more efficient, more effective ways of doing business for our department, for our people, and for our country," said Hagel. Carter said he thinks "winning is truly within our grasp" in Afghanistan. He also warned that "the turbulence surrounding governance in Washington, [D.C.,] is having serious effects" because "it injects inefficiencies" into acquisition, "affects the readiness" of forces, and "most seriously . . . embarrasses us in front of friends and allies." (AFPS report by Claudette Roulo)