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Ash Carter Photo
Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs
Assistant: Henry Kaempf

For more information, visit: https://www.belfercenter.org/person/ash-carter

Ash Carter is a former United States Secretary of Defense and the current Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School, where he leads the Technology and Public Purpose project. He is also an Innovation Fellow and Corporation Member at MIT.

 For over 35 years, Secretary Carter has leveraged his experience in national security, technology, and innovation to defend the United States and make a better world. He has done 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.


Assistant Info:
Andrew Diiorio
Email: andrew_diiorio@hks.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-384-6951

Media Requests:
Josh Burek
Email: josh_burek@hks.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-495-7831

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles


Book Chapters

Edited Volumes

Research Papers/Reports



Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For Ash Carter

Outside Professional Activities for Ash Carter

In addition to the courses I teach, my work at the Kennedy School is focused on how disruptive technology has and will affect our society and national security. I founded the Technology and Public Purpose (TAPP) project in 2018 with three main purposes. First, TAPP strives to invent practical solutions to the dilemmas of technological change in the digital domain, biotech, and jobs and training. Second, it aims to engage and convene leaders from research universities, tech industry CEOs and senior scientists, entrepreneurs, current and former policymakers, and experts in law, regulation, and ethics in a non-political, analysis-based forum where they can meet, talk, and solve problems. Third, it aspires to train and inspire a new generation of technology leaders and thinkers to make advancing public purpose a part of their life calling.

I am active outside the Kennedy School. Currently, this includes:

Member, The MIT Corporation
Advisor, MIT Lincoln Laboratories
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The MITRE Corporation
Innovation Fellow, MIT
Board of Directors, Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Physical Society
Member, Aspen Strategy Group
Board Member, Council on Foreign Relations
International Institute for Strategic Studies
National Committee on U.S.-China Relations
Honorary Director, Atlantic Council
Advisor, Goldman Sachs
Affiliate Member, The Broad Institute
Member, ReWork America Task Force

Since becoming Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, I have given outside speeches for the organizations listed below. I received a speaking fee for some of these, expenses only for others, and no payments for others.

2018 Engagements

Washington Speakers Bureau

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company

The Hewlett Foundation Cyber Initiative

The Yale School of Management

Massachusetts Port Authority

The Pilgrims of The United States

Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Hewlett Foundation

The Aspen Strategy Group

Massachusetts Cyber Security Forum

Lugar Diplomacy Series

Andrew Carnegie Distinguished Lecture

CNN Chris Cuomo Program

Sec. Bill Perry, "Stories from the Nuclear Brink" Podcast

Nuclear Threat Initiative Summit


Phone: 617-384-6951
Assistant: Henry Kaempf

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138