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Despite a snow-covered Washington, D.C., Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office to Ashton Carter during a private ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. Carter is now the 25th Secretary of Defense. The ceremony occurred after Carter arrived at the Pentagon’s river entrance early Tuesday morning and held meetings with senior leadership, a senior DOD official briefed reporters. Carter met with Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, the service Secretaries, and held a meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, as well as Vice Chairman Adm. James Winnefeld, and Work (also known as the “big four” in the Pentagon). In a message to DOD personnel broadcast Tuesday, Carter said he was honored to assume the position and emphasized the Department is facing tests on multiple fronts. “Starting today, I will be calling on each and every one of you to help carry out three top priorities,” he said. First, to help the President make the best possible decisions to protect the nation and to implement those decisions, second to ensure the “strength and health” of service members and protect readiness, and finally to build the “force of the future” by steering through budgetary uncertainty and “embracing change.”