President Obama has nominated Ashton Carter to be the next Secretary of Defense. Carter would succeed Secretary Chuck Hagel who announced his resignation last month. Hagel will remain in the job until Carter is confirmed.

In announcing the nomination, the president said Carter “brings a unique blend of strategic perspective and technical know-how” to the job. The president noted that Carter has served under 11 Secretaries of Defense, in both Republican and Democrat administrations.

If confirmed, as expected, Carter will face significant challenges. American troops are ending the combat mission in Afghanistan, but will transition to advising and training Afghan forces. Efforts to degrade and destroy forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will continue into the future. U.S. participation in the fight against the spread of Ebola involves DoD capabilities. And, DoD is undergoing significant efforts to reform acquisition, develop and improve new capabilities, while maintaining readiness and dealing with continued budgetary constraints. The president said that Carter “is going to be critical to all these efforts.”

Carter has a broad knowledge and significant experience in Department of Defense matters. He served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from December 2011 to December 2013. Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, he was Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, a post he held from 2009 to 2011.

Before becoming USD (AT&L) in 2009, Carter was chair of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government’s international and Global Affairs department.  From 2006 until 2008, Carter was a member of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s International Security Advisory Board.  Previously, Carter served in the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of Defense for international Security Policy from 1993 until 1996. 

During his career, Carter also has been a member of the Defense Science Board (1991-93 and 1997-01) and the Defense Policy Board (1997-01), and co-chaired the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group.  He was also a Senior Partner at Global Technology Partners and served on the Board of Trustees at MITRE Corporation.