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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Physical Society (APS), the nation’s leading organization of physicists, is elated that the U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly confirmed APS Member Ashton B. Carter as the new defense secretary.
A career physicist who is known as highly competent, hard-working and intelligent, Carter takes the helm at the Pentagon days after President Obama made the case to Congress to have the U.S. step up military action against the Islamic State.
“Ashton B. Carter is an excellent fit for the position, bringing to the job a keen understanding of defense, science and technology issues,” said Sam Aronson, APS president.
Carter is well prepared for his new post.
He served under President Clinton as assistant secretary of defense during the 1990s. In 2009, President Obama appointed him to serve as undersecretary of defense for acquisitions at the Pentagon. Before being nominated as defense secretary, Carter worked as the U.S. deputy secretary of defense. He replaces Chuck Hagel as the nation’s 25th secretary of defense.
Carter received his bachelor’s degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1976. In 1979, he earned a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He also worked as a physics instructor at Oxford and as a post-doctoral fellow at Rockefeller University and MIT. Carter later worked as an experimental research associate at Brookhaven and Fermilab national laboratories.
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The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.