February 24, 2009
Obama picks Ashton Carter for key acquisition post
According to a White House announcement, President Barack Obama intends to nominate Dr. Ashton Carter as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Department of Defense.
Dr. Carter will succeed John J. Young, Jr.
The choice of Carter is not getting rave reviews among defense contractors. They don't like the fact that he has never been employed by any of them. And they see the pick as another indication that an era of big spending on big ticket military hardware is coming to an end.
Dr. Carter, a physicist and current Chair of the International & Global Affairs faculty at the Kennedy School, served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from 1993 to 1996. 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, Kazakstan, 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.
Dr. 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 Kazakstan in the operation code-named Project Sapphire. Dr. Carter also directed the Nuclear Posture Review and oversaw the Department of Defense's (DOD's) Counterproliferation Initiative. He directed the reform of DOD's national security export controls.
In 1997 Dr. Carter co-chaired the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group with former CIA Director John M. Deutch, which urged greater attention to terrorism.
From 1998 to 2000, he was deputy to William J. Perry in the North Korea Policy Review and traveled with him to Pyongyang. In 2001-2002, he 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.
Dr. Carter was twice awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award given by the Department. In addition to his current position at the Kennedy School, Carter is Co-Director (with former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry) of the Preventive Defense Project, a research collaboration of Harvard and Stanford Universities.