Ash Carter was a former United States Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, where he led the Technology and Public Purpose project. He was also an Innovation Fellow and Corporation Member at MIT.
For over 35 years, Secretary Carter leveraged his experience in national security, technology, and innovation to defend the United States and make a better world. He did so under presidents of both political parties as well as in the private sector. Most recently, he served as Secretary of Defense and before that in the number two (“COO”) and number three (“weapons czar”) positions. He was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Department’s highest civilian honor, on five separate occasions.
As Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017, he pushed the Pentagon to “think outside its five-sided box.” He led the creation of the military campaign and international coalition to destroy ISIS, designed and executed the strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific, established a new playbook for the U.S. and NATO to confront Russia’s aggression, and launched a national cyber strategy.
Secretary Carter spearheaded new technological capabilities and a more agile approach to the relationship between the Pentagon and the tech sector. He also transformed the way the Department of Defense recruits, trains, and retains quality people, including opening all military positions to women without exception.
He earned a BA from Yale University and a PhD in theoretical physics from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Also see: belfercenter.org/person/ash-carter
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