Carter, Ashton Baldwin

Carter, Ashton Baldwin, 1954–, U.S. political scientist and government official, b. Philadephia, Pa. Trained as a theoretical physicist, he shifted to the study of ballistic missiles and international relations in the 1980s and later focused on nuclear nonproliferation and defense spending. On the faculty at Harvard from 1984, he became associate director (1988–90) and director (1990–93) of the Center for Science and International Affairs there. Under President Clinton, Carter served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy (1993–96) and was senior adviser (1998–2000) to the North Korea policy review. Under President Obama, he served as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics (2009–11) and deputy secretary of defense (2011–13), and later succeeded (2015) Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, serving until 2017. In 2015 he approved the opening of all positions in combat units to women who meet the requirements.

See his memoir, Inside the Five-Sided Box (2019).

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