Ashton Baldwin "Ash" Carter (born September 24, 1954) is the United States Secretary of Defense. He is also a physicist and a former Harvard University professor of Science and International Affairs. He was nominated by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 93–5, to replace Chuck Hagel as the US Secretary of Defense.
Carter received a B.A. in his double-major of Physics and Medieval History from Yale University, summa cum laude, in 1976. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, and studied at the University of Oxford, from which he received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics in 1979. He worked on quantum chromodynamics, the quantum field theory that was then postulated to explain the behavior of nuclear reactions and the structure of subatomic particles. He was a postdoctoral fellow research associate in Theoretical Physics at Rockefeller University from 1979 to 1980, and a research fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies from 1982 to 1984.
Carter taught at Harvard University, beginning in 1986. He ultimately rose to become Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty, and Ford Foundation Professor of Science & International Affairs, at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Carter is author or co-author of 11 books and more than 100 articles on physics, technology, national security, and management.
Carter served as US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during President Clinton's first term, from 1993 to 1996, responsible for policy regarding the former Soviet states, strategic affairs, and nuclear weapons policy. He was Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics from April 2009 to October 2011, with responsibility for procurement of all technology, systems, services, and supplies, bases and infrastructure, energy, and environment, and more than $50 billion annually in R&D. He was then Deputy Secretary of Defense from October 2011 to December 2013, serving as the Chief Operating Officer of the DOD overseeing more than $600 billion per year and 2.4 million civilian and military personnel, and managing global 24/7 operations. He was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate for both the number-two and number-three Pentagon positions.
For his service to national security, Carter has on five occasions been awarded the DOD Distinguished Public Service Medal. He has also received the CJCS Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, and the Defense Intelligence Medal for his contributions to Intelligence.
Ashton Baldwin Carter was born on September 24, 1954, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Anne (Baldwin), an English teacher, and William Stanley Carter, Jr., a World War II veteran, Navy neurologist and psychiatrist, and department chairman at Abington Memorial Hospital for 30 years. He has three siblings, including children's book author Cynthia DeFelice, and as a child he was nicknamed Ash and Stoobie.
Carter was educated at Highland Elementary School (class of 1966) and at Abington Senior High School (class of 1972) in Abington. In high school he was President of the Honor Society, and a wrestler, lacrosse player, and cross-country runner. He was inducted into Abington Senior High School's Hall of Fame in 1989.
He attended Edinburgh University in Scotland in the Spring of 1975. Carter received a B.A. in his double-major of Physics and Medieval History from Yale University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1976. His senior thesis, “Quarks, Charm and the Psi Particle,” was published in Yale Scientific in 1975. He was also an experimental research associate at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 1975 (where he worked on an experiment in elementary particle physics to search for the quark, a then-only-theorized sub-atomic particle), and at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1976.
Carter then became a Rhodes Scholar, and studied at the University of Oxford, from which he received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics in 1979. He worked on the theory of quantum chromodynamics, the quantum field theory that was then postulated to explain the behavior of nuclear reactions and the structure of subatomic particles.
He was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow research associate in theoretical physics at Rockefeller University from 1979 to 1980, studying time-reversal invariance and dynamical symmetry breaking. He was then a research fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies from 1982 to 1984, during which time he wrote a public report assessing that the Reagan-proposed "Star Wars" initiative could not protect the US from a Soviet nuclear attack.
Carter taught at Harvard University, as an Assistant Professor from 1984 to 1986, Associate Professor from 1986 to 1988, Professor and Associate Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government from 1988 to 1990, and Director of the Center from 1990 to 1993. At Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government he became Chair of the International and Global Affairs faculty, and Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs; he also concurrently was Co-Director of the Preventive Defense Project of Harvard and Stanford Universities.
Early Department of Defense career
Carter served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during President Clinton's first term, from 1993 to 1996. He was Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics from April 2009 to October 2011, and Deputy Secretary of Defense from October 2011 to December 2013.
Carter served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy under President Clinton, from 1993 to 1996. He was responsible for strategic affairs, including countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction around the world, nuclear weapons policy including overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal and missile defenses, the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review, the Agreed Framework signed in 1994 which froze North Korea's plutonium-producing nuclear reactor program, the 1995 extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the negotiation of the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the multi-billion dollar Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program and Project Sapphire that removed all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus.  Carter directed military planning during the 1994 crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. He was also responsible for dealing with the establishment of defense and intelligence relationships with former Soviet countries in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its nuclear arsenal, and was chairman of NATO’s High Level Group.  He was also responsible for the Counter proliferation Initiative, control of sensitive US exports, and negotiations that led to the deployment of Russian troops as part of the Bosnia Peace Plan Implementation Force.
Carter was Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics from April 2009 to October 2011, with responsibility for DOD’s procurement reform and innovation agenda and completion of procurements such as the KC-46 tanker. He also led the development and production of thousands of mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, and other acquisitions. He instituted “Better Buying Power”, seeking smarter and leaner purchasing.
Carter was Deputy Secretary of Defense from October 2011 to December 2013, serving as the DOD’s chief operating officer, overseeing the department’s annual budget and its three million civilian and military personnel, steering strategy and budget through sequester, and directing the reform of DOD's national security export controls. In an April 4, 2013, speech, he affirmed that the 'Shift to Asia' initiative of President Obama was a priority that would not be affected by the budget sequestration in 2013. Carter noted that 'The Shift to Asia' is principally an economic matter with new security implications. India, Australia, and New Zealand were mentioned as forthcoming security partners.
Secretary of Defense
In his nomination hearing before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, he said he was “very much inclined” to increase U.S. military aid to Ukraine, and would likely support proposals to give Ukraine lethal arms in its battle with Russia-backed separatists. Speaking on the Middle East, he said the US must militarily ensure a “lasting defeat” of Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. He said he would resist any pressure from the White House to increase the pace of prisoner releases from Guantanamo Bay. He also opined that the threats posed by Iran were as serious as those posed by the Islamic State forces.
He was approved unanimously on February 1, 2015, by the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 12, by a vote of 93–5, and sworn in by Vice President Biden on February 17.
From 1990 to 1993, Carter was Chairman of the Editorial Board of International Security. Previously, he held positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and Rockefeller University.
In 1997, Carter and former CIA Director John M. Deutch co-chaired the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group which urged greater attention to terrorism. From 1998 to 2000, he was deputy to William J. Perry in the North Korea Policy Review and traveled with him to Pyongyang. In 2001–02, he served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism, and advised on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.
Carter was also co-director of the Preventive Defense Project, which designs and promotes security policies aimed at preventing the emergence of major new threats to the US.
Carter had been a longtime member of the Defense Science Board and the Defense Policy Board, the principal advisory bodies to the Secretary of Defense. During the Bush administration, he was also a member of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's International Security Advisory Board; co-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Policy Advisory Group; a consultant to the Defense Science Board; a member of the National Missile Defense White Team, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control. He has testified frequently before the armed services, foreign relations, and homeland security committees of both houses of Congress.
In addition to his public service, Carter was a Senior Partner at Global Technology Partners, focused on advising investment firms in technology and defense. He has been a consultant to Goldman Sachs and Mitretek Systems on international affairs and technology matters, and speaks frequently to business and policy audiences.
He was also a member of the Boards of Directors of the MITRE Corporation and Mitretek Systems and the Advisory Boards of MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Draper Laboratory. Carter was also a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Physical Society, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Carter was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Views on Iran
Carter's views on Iran have been perceived as hawkish. In 2006, he authored a report advocating use or threat of force to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Carter has supported diplomacy with Iran and written about methods of containing a nuclear-armed Tehran.
Carter is married to Stephanie (DeLeeuw) Carter. He was previously married to current Bates College President Clayton Spencer. He and his former wife have two grown children, Ava and Will.
In addition to authoring numerous articles, scientific publications, government studies, and Congressional testimonies, Carter co-edited and co-authored 11 books:
- MX Missile Basing (1981)
- Ballistic Missile Defense (1984)
- Directed Energy Missile Defense in Space (1984)
- Ballistic Missile Defense (1984)
- Managing Nuclear Operations (1987)
- Soviet Nuclear Fission: Control of the Nuclear Arsenal in a Disintegrating Soviet Union (1991)
- Beyond Spinoff: Military and Commercial Technologies in a Changing World (1992)
- A New Concept of Cooperative Security (1992)
- Cooperative Denuclearization: From Pledges to Deeds (1993)
- Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America (1997)
- Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future (2001)
Carter received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award from the United States Junior Chamber in 1987. For his service to national security, Carter has on five occasions been awarded the DOD's highest civilian medal, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. For critical liaison efforts with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the geographic combatant commanders, he was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2013. He also received the Defense Intelligence Medal for his contributions to intelligence.
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- Template:Cite books
- Carter, Ashton B. (September 2004). "How to Counter WMD". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- "Ashton B. Carter; Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics", US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations
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- "Biography of The Honorable Ashton Carter". Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- Crowley, Michael. "Can a wonk run a war?; Ash Carter is a scholar, a bureaucrat — and the opposite of Chuck Hagel.". Politico. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
- "Atlantic Council Board Member Ashton Carter Opens Testimony to the Senate". Atlantic Council.
- "Ten Outstanding Young Americans"
|40x40px||Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ashton Carter|
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ashton Carter.|
- Preventive Defense Project
- Ashton B. Carter expert profile at the Belfer Center of Harvard University
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Collected columns at Foreign Affairs magazine
- Works by or about Ashton Carter in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Sec DOD Bio at DOD
|Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
| Succeeded by|
|United States Deputy Secretary of Defense
| Succeeded by|
|United States Secretary of Defense
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Secretary of the Treasury
|Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Defense
| Succeeded by|
as Attorney General
|United States presidential line of succession|
as Secretary of the Treasury
|6th in line
as Secretary of Defense
| Succeeded by|
as Attorney General
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