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WASHINGTON — Ashton Carter will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee about his nomination for US defense secretary Feb. 4, then return a month later to testify about the next defense spending plan.

SASC Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., revealed the date to reporters Thursday morning. He also confirmed Carter will appear on Capitol Hill to defend the White House's coming 2016 defense budget request — not outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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"It's going to be Carter, so we're going to delay it some," McCain said of the committee's annual hearing on the military spending request.

That hearing will feature Carter, who is expected to be confirmed easily, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, and will be held "the first week in March," he said.

email: jbennett@defensenews.com

Twitter: @BennettJohnT

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