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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. Carter is the author or co-author of over 12 books and more than one-hundred articles on physics, technology, national security, and management.
A Tribute to Ash Carter
People and Technology
The Imperative to Innovate: Transformational Leadership for Business
Rebuilding a Bridge to the Future: Silicon Valley and the Intersection of Public and Private Sectors
Geopolitical Forecast: Asia, Russia and Global Hot Spots
Secretary Carter’s presentation was superb and insightful. Onsite he was friendly, engaged and generous with his time both before and after he spoke. His comments inspired my colleagues to think about global events and the U.S. government in a different and more informed way.Denis Bovin, Evercore
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Secretary of Defense (2006-2011); Best-Selling Author, DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War and A Passion for Leadership