Obama picks new Pentagon chief

Senator says US president has chosen ex-defence department deputy Ashton Carter as candidate for defence secretary.

    Obama picks new Pentagon chief
    If confirmed for the job, Ashton Carter, left, will replace Chuck Hagel, right, who is resigning [File: AP]

    US President Barack Obama has nominated former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as US defence secretary.

    Carter has support among Republicans who will take control of the Senate next month.

    Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said he was informed of the decision early on Tuesday.

    Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he supports the choice of Carter to lead the Pentagon "very strongly".

    If confirmed for the job by the Senate, Carter would replace outgoing US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel. 

    The 60-year-old has gained a reputation as an expert on hi-tech weapons and military budgets, portraying himself as a reformer intent on making the vast Pentagon bureaucracy more efficient.

    While Carter is skilled in weapons programmes and technological trends, he has less experience overseeing war strategy and has never served in uniform - unlike Hagel who served in the military and was wounded in the Vietnam War.

    An academic by training and a holder of a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford, Carter worked in the Pentagon during Bill Clinton's presidency, overseeing nuclear arms policies and helped with efforts to remove nuclear weapons from Ukraine and other former Soviet territories.

    A former professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Carter served as the Pentagon's top weapons buyer from 2009 to 2011 and then as deputy defence secretary until 2013.



    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons