The White House has announced that it is nominating Ash Carter, the Pentagon's head of procurement, to be the next deputy secretary of defense.
Carter, a trained physicist, has overseen Pentagon procurement as undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics in the Obama administration. He has previously served as a professor of international security affairs at Harvard, and as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Clinton administration. When he served in the latter post, he worked on reducing post-Soviet nuclear weapons arsenals, and countering the threats from catastrophic terrorism and North Korea's nuclear program.
If confirmed, Carter will succeed Deputy Secretary Bill Lynn, who told reporters last month he plans to step down by the fall. Leon Panetta succeeded Bob Gates as defense secretary early last month.
Under both Gates and Panetta, the job of deputy secretary has focused heavily on budget and management issues. And with the recently passed debt reduction deal aiming to shave a few hundred billion dollars from the Pentagon budget over the next dozen years, Panetta will no doubt be leaning on Carter's background in procurement to help streamline Defense operations, if not also Carter's experience negotiating with the Russians and North Koreans to deal with Congress and entrenched defense interests in the city.