Defense Department Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter will retire in December, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
Carter plans to leave the department Dec. 4, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
In Carter’s latest stint at the Pentagon, he served for more than 4 1/2 years as both the the Pentagon No. 2 and the department’s chief weapons buyer. He previously served as an assistant secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration and a few key defense-related policy board.
Hagel, who said he “reluctantly accepted” Carter’s decision, praised his “unparalleled knowledge of every facet of America’s defense enterprise.”
Carter has worked “directly and indirectly” for 11 Defense secretaries over the course of his career, Hagel said.
“He is a brilliant strategist and an excellent manager who helped enhance the department’s buying power, but Ash’s most recent tour of the department will be especially remembered for his tremendous efforts to provide more agile and effective support for our war fighters and their families,” Hagel said in a statement. “His compassion, love, and determination to overcome any and all bureaucratic obstacles earned him their abiding respect and appreciation.”
As deputy defense secretary, a position Carter has held since September 2011, he recently spearheaded the department’s “Strategic Choices and Management Review,” a long-term budget review which put DoD “in a far stronger position to manage through unprecedented budget uncertainty,” Hagel said in a statement.
President Barack Obama nominated Carter to serve as the undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics in February 2009. Carter, who was confirmed in April of that year, first worked under then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates and was instrumental in formulating the Pentagon’s “Better Buying Power” initiative, which sought to reform DoD procurement practices.
During the first term of the Clinton administration, Carter served as assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy.
He has previously served on the White House Government Accountability and Transparency Board, the Defense Science Board, the Defense Policy Board and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.