President Obama will nominate former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to be Secretary of Defense, the Washington Post and other outlets reported.
According to the Post:
President Obama will nominate Ashton B. Carter, a physicist with long experience in national security circles and at the Pentagon, as his new secretary of defense, according to a person familiar with the decision.
If confirmed by the Senate, Carter would succeed Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator who is being pushed aside by the White House after less than two years in the job.
“Great, very highly qualified,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), who will replace Levin as chairman next month, called Carter a “noncontroversial” choice.
Carter, 60, is little known outside Washington but is renowned for his intellect. A Rhodes scholar, he earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University and holds degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale. A longtime faculty member at Harvard, he began lecturing at Stanford this fall.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today refused to confirm the reports, but he noted Carter has served “very, very ably” as Deputy Secretary of Defense, had received “strong bipartisan support” in the past and had a “detailed understanding” of how the Department of Defense works.