Ash Carter


Ash Carter was a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies until February, 2015, when he became the 25th US Secretary of Defense.  Carter was deputy secretary of defense from October 2011 to December 2013, serving as the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) chief operating officer, overseeing more than $600 billion per year and 2.4 million civilian and military personnel and managing global 24/7 operations.  From April 2009 to October 2011, he was undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, with responsibility for procuring all technology, systems, services, supplies, bases and infrastructure, energy, and environment and more than $50 billion annually in research and development. Previously Carter was a senior partner of Global Technology Partners focused on advising major investment firms in technology and an adviser to Goldman Sachs. At Harvard’s Kennedy School he was a professor and chair of the international relations, science, and security faculty.  From 1993 to 1996, he served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.  He served on the boards of the MITRE Corporation, Mitretek Systems, and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories and as a member of the Draper Laboratory Corporation. He has been a member of the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, and Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.  For his service to national security, he has on five separate occasions been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, DOD’s highest.  He received the Defense Intelligence Medal for his contributions to intelligence and the Joint Distinguished Service Medal from the chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He is author or coauthor of eleven books and more than a hundred articles on physics, technology, national security, and management.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and medieval history from Yale University in 1976, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University in 1979, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

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Recent Commentary

The Day After

by William J. Perry, Ash Carter, Michael M. Mayvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why we can, and must, plan for a nuclear attack on the United States. By William J. Perry, Ashton B. Carter, and Michael M. May.

Analysis and Commentary

If Necessary, Strike and Destroy

by William J. Perry, Ash Cartervia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, June 22, 2006

North Korean technicians are reportedly in the final stages of fueling a long-range ballistic missile that some experts estimate can deliver a deadly payload to the United States…

Preventive Defense

by William J. Perry, Ash Cartervia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 1999

The post–Cold War era is in many ways proving more dangerous and unpredictable than the era of the Cold War itself. Hoover fellow and former secretary of defense William J. Perry and Ashton B. Carter offer a defense strategy for the scary new world.