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Ashton Carter likely to be next US Defence Secretary

Ashton Carter. A file photo.

WASHINGTON (PTI): Ashton Carter, credited with launching a path-breaking initiative to enhance defence ties with India, is likely to be President Barack Obama's pick for the next US Defence Secretary.

Obama has not made an announcement on the successor of Chuck Hagel yet.

Carter served in multiple positions in the Obama administration at the Pentagon; the last one being that of the Deputy Secretary of Defence. In that capacity, he was instrumental in launching the landmark Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) with India.

The former number-two ranking official at the Pentagon, Carter, likely will be named as the next US defence secretary, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Obama was set to name Carter to replace Hagel, "barring any last minute complications," CNN said, citing several unnamed administration officials.

Outgoing Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned last week, with officials privately saying he was forced out after losing the confidence of the White House.

Carter, 60, has acquired a reputation as an expert on hi-tech weapons and military spending, conveying himself as a reformer aiming to make the vast Pentagon bureaucracy more efficient.

While Carter is well-versed with weapons programmes and technological issues, he has less experience overseeing war strategy and has never served in the military - unlike Hagel, who saw action in the Vietnam War.

An academic with a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford, Carter worked in the Pentagon during Bill Clinton's presidency overseeing nuclear weapons policies and aided efforts to remove nuclear weapons from Ukraine and other former Soviet republics.

A former professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Carter served as the Pentagon's top weapons buyer from 2009 to 2011 and then as deputy defence secretary until 2013.

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