PDP Co-Director Ashton Carter Nominated as Pentagonís Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
February 26, 2009
Author: Beth Maclin, Former Communications Assistant, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Preventive Defense Project
President Barack Obama announced Monday that he has nominated Dr. Ashton B. Carter to serve as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. Carter's nomination was announced in a press release along with several other key nominees.
"I am grateful that these distinguished men and women have chosen to put their unique talents and expertise to work serving our country," Obama said. "Together, I am confident that we will be able to tackle the challenges of our time as we work to right our economy and enact policies that give America's working families the relief they need."
Carter is the Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs and Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty at Harvard Kennedy School. He came to Harvard in 1984 and has been affiliated with the Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs since 1988. He also serves as co-director of the Preventive Defense Project with former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry.
The Preventive Defense Project has been at the leading edge of research on the most important security challenges facing the United States. Carter's publications can be found at the Project's website: www.preventivedefenseproject.org.
Carter received bachelor's degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He is a specialist in national security technology and policy.
"President Obama could not have picked a more qualified person than Ash Carter to push the Department of Defense to meet our country's 21st-century needs," Belfer Center Director Graham Allison said. "The Belfer Center and Harvard Kennedy School will have a difficult time filling the void Ash will leave, but he is setting such a wonderful example of what this school and center are about: putting policy into practice."
Former Secretary of Defense William Perry agreed. "Dr. Carter is an outstanding choice for this critical position," Perry said. "He has the qualifications, the experience, and the intellect required to manage the complexities of defense acquisition and to deliver acquisition reform."
"I think Ash Carter is an outstanding choice for the job," said former Under Secretary and Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch, with whom Carter co-chaired the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group in 1997. "He will be a great source of strength for the Secretary of Defense. I believe he will turn out to be a star in the Pentagon and Obama Administration. He has the right background to shape defense systems acquisition to national security policy objectives."
Carter served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1993-96. His Pentagon responsibilities encompassed: countering weapons of mass destruction worldwide, oversight of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and missile defense programs, policy regarding the collapse of the former Soviet Union (including its nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction), control over sensitive U.S. exports, and chairmanship of NATO's High Level Group. He directed military planning during the 1994 crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program; was instrumental in removing all nuclear weapons from the territories of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus; directed the establishment of defense and intelligence relationships with the countries of the former Soviet Union when the Cold War ended; and participated in the negotiations that led to the deployment of Russian troops as part of the Bosnia Peace Plan Implementation Force.
Carter managed the multi-billion dollar Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) program to support elimination of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons of the former Soviet Union, including the secret removal of 600 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Kazakhstan in the operation code-named Project Sapphire. Carter also directed the Nuclear Posture Review and oversaw the Department of Defense's Counterproliferation Initiative. He directed the reform of the Defense Department's national security export controls. His arms control responsibilities included the agreement freezing North Korea's nuclear weapons program, the extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the negotiation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and matters involving the START II, ABM, CFE, and other arms control treaties.
A longtime member of the Defense Science Board and the Defense Policy Board, the principal advisory bodies to the Secretary of Defense, Carter continued to advise the U.S. government after returning to Harvard in 1996 as a member of then-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 also served as senior advisor to the North Korea Policy Review in the Department of State from 1998-2000 and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Program Analysis and Evaluation department from 1981-82. From 2001-02, Carter 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 twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award given by the Department "for exceptionally distinguished service to the Nation as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy." For his contributions to intelligence, he was awarded the Defense Intelligence Medal. In 1987 Carter was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Jaycees. He received the American Physical Society's Forum Award for his contributions to physics and public policy. He also won the Andrew D. White Essay Prize in European History from Yale and the Best Participant Prize from the NATO Center for Subnuclear Physics while at Oxford.
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