President Barack Obama on Dec. 5 nominated Asthon Carter, a visiting scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, as the next secretary of defense, according to a Stanford news report.
Carter, who stepped down from his position at the Pentagon late last year after serving two years as the deputy secretary of defense, will succeed Chuck Hagel, who announced his resignation on Nov. 24.
"Ash is rightly regarded as one of our nation's foremost national security leaders," Obama said at a ceremony at the White House. "As a top member of our Pentagon team for the first five years of my presidency, including his two years as deputy secretary, he was at the table in the Situation Room; he was by my side navigating complex security challenges that we were confronting. I relied on his expertise, and I relied on his judgment."
As deputy secretary of defense (the Pentagon's No. 2 job), Carter oversaw a $600 billion budget and 2.4 million uniformed and civilian personnel. From 2009 to 2011, he was the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics.
"I accept the offer because of the deep respect and admiration that Stephanie and I have for the men and women in uniform," Carter said, referring to his wife, Stephanie Carter. "If confirmed for this job, I pledge to you my most candid, strategic advice."
Carter, who has a PhD in theoretical physics, joined Stanford earlier this year as the Payne Distinguished Visitor to the Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI). He is responsible for delivering lectures, including the annual Drell Lecture sponsored by FSI's Center for International Security and Cooperation. Carter is also a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"We congratulate Ash on his critical new assignment," FSI Director Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar said in the news report. "The Institute has benefited enormously from his experience as a scholar and public servant, his accessibility and his engagement at Stanford. We're grateful for his contributions to our research and teaching on international security and other global challenges."