Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter informed his boss Chuck Hagel on Thursday that he is resigning from his post on Dec. 6 after four and a half years with the department.
Carter was considered a front-runner to become secretary of defense last year when Leon Panetta resigned, but President Barack Obama picked former Congressman Chuck Hagel over him, according to The Hill.
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"I will always be grateful that Ash was willing to stay on and serve as my deputy secretary," Hagel said in a statement. "He possesses an unparalleled knowledge of every facet of America's defense enterprise, having worked directly and indirectly for eleven Secretaries of Defense over the course of his storied career."
Carter is overseeing a Pentagon review of the department's security measures at military facilities in response to September's shooting at the Navy's Washington, D.C., headquarters.
Carter was put in charge of slashing costs and excessive spending for the Pentagon's weapons development programs and drafting a plan that takes into account the sequestration cuts, according to The Hill.
The Washington Times reported that the resignation
Hagel said Carter's role as undersecretary in the department, working in acquisitions, technology, and logistics were valuable assets to the department.
"I am confident that the department and the country will continue to benefit from Ash Carter's service in the months and years ahead," Hagel said, according to the Washington Times. "I am thankful that Ash will continue to be at my side for the next two months, helping the Department of Defense manage through a very disruptive and difficult time, and ensuring a smooth transition within the office of the deputy secretary."
Pentagon press secretary George Little told The Hill that Carter's decision to leave was not prompted by the White House or Pentagon officials.
"The decision to depart the Pentagon later this year was Deputy Secretary Carter's and his alone," Little said.
Carter, who also served in the defense department under the Clinton administration, chaired the International and Global Affairs faculty at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Co-Director of the Preventive Defense Project.
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