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Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter at 2015 Drell Lecture
Ash Carter: Keep your jacket on...even in the desert

Biography

Harvard Kennedy School
Belfer Professor of Technology and Global Affairs. Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Ash Carter is the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also an Innovation Fellow at MIT.

For over 35 years, 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.

As Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017, Carter pushed the Pentagon to “think outside its five-sided box.” He changed the trajectory of the military campaign to deliver ISIS a lasting defeat, designed and executed the strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific, established a new playbook for the US and NATO to confront Russia’s aggression, and launched a national cyber strategy. Carter also spearheaded revolutionary improvements to the Department of Defense, developing new technological capabilities, leading the “Force of the Future” initiative to transform the way the department recruits, trains, and retains quality people, opening all military positions to women, and building bridges to America’s technology community.

Carter earned a BA from Yale University and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Selected Publications

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

  • Carter, Ashton B. "How Washington Learned to Stop Worrying and Love India's Bomb." Foreign Affairs (online only) (January 10, 2007).
  • Carter, Ashton B. "America's New Strategic Partner?" Foreign Affairs 85.4 (July/August 2006): 33-44.
  • Carter, Ashton B. and Stephen LaMontagne. "Toolbox: Containing the Nuclear Red Zone Threat." The American Interest 1.3 (Spring 2006): 28-40.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and Stephen A. LaMontagne. "A Fuel-Cycle Fix." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 62.1 (January/February 2006): 24-25.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "How to Counter WMD." Foreign Affairs 83.5 (September-October 2004): 72-85.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Keeping America's Military Edge." Foreign Affairs 80.1 (January-February 2001): 90-105.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism." International Security 26.3 (Winter 2001/2002): 5-23.

Books

  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. Preventive Defense: A New Security Strategy for America, Russian Edition. Brookings Institution, 2003.
  • Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism (Lewis M. Branscomb (co-chair), Richard D. Klausner (co-chair), Ashton B. Carter, et al.). Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. National Academies Press, 2002.

Book Chapters

  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "China's Rise in American Military Strategy." China's March on the 21st Century: A Report of the Aspen Strategy Group. Ed. Kurt M. Campbell and Willow Darsie. Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, 2007, 107-117.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "The Essential Features of a Focused Strategy to Deal with the Proliferation Challenge: What Has Been Done and What Is to Be Done?" The Challenge of Proliferation: A Report of the Aspen Strategy Group. Ed. Kurt M. Campbell. Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, 2005, 141-152.
  • Carter, Ashton B. “Overhauling Counterproliferation." Technology in Society: An International Journal – Special Issue: Technology and Science: Entering the 21st Century. Ed. George Bugliarello and A. George Schillinger. Elsevier, April/August 2004, 257-269.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "The Architecture of Government in the Face of Terrorism." Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness. Ed. Arnold M. Howitt and Robyn L. Pangi. MIT Press, 2003, 17-36.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and Gerald L. Epstein. "A Dedicated Organization in Congress." Science and Technology Advice for Congress. Ed. M. Granger Morgan and Jon M. Peha. RFF, 2003, 157-163.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and L. Celeste Johnson. "Beyond the Counterproliferation Initiative." Twenty-First Century Weapons Proliferation: Are We Ready? Ed. Henry Sokolski and James M. Ludes. Cass, 2001.
  • Carter, Ashton B., Marcel Lettre, and Shane Smith. "Countering Asymmetric Threats." Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future. Ed. Ashton B. Carter and John P. White. MIT Press, 2001, 119-128.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "National Security Strategy." American Military Strategy: Memos to a President. Ed. Philip D. Zelikow. Norton, 2001, 33-48.
  • Carter, Ashton B., Marcel Lettre, and Shane Smith. "Keeping the Technological Edge." Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future. Ed. Ashton B. Carter and John P. White. MIT Press, 2001, 129-164.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "National Innovation to Combat Catastrophic Terrorism." Firepower in the Lab: Automation in the Fight Against Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism. Ed. Scott P. Layne, Tony J. Beugelsdijk, and C. Kumar N. Patel. Henry, 2001, 187-191.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future." Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future. Ed. Ashton B. Carter and John P. White. MIT Press, 2001, 1-26.
  • Edited Volumes
  • Carter, Ashton B., and John P. White, eds. Keeping the Edge: Managing Defense for the Future. MIT Press, 2001.

Research Papers/Reports

  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "China's Rise in American Military Strategy." Conference Paper, Preventive Defense Project, October 2006.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "Plan B for Iran: What if Nuclear Diplomacy Fails?" Preventive Defense Project, September 2006.
  • Perry, William J. (chair), with Madeleine K. Albright, Graham T. Allison, Samuel R. Berger, Ashton B. Carter, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Thomas E. Donilon, Michele A. Flournoy, John D. Podesta, Susan E. Rice, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, Wendy R. Sherman, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and James B. Steinberg. "The U.S. Military: Under Strain and at Risk." National Security Advisory Group Report, January 2006.
  • Perry, William J. (chair), with Madeleine K. Albright, Graham T. Allison, Samuel R. Berger, Ashton B. Carter, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Thomas E. Donilon, Michele A. Flournoy, John D. Podesta, Susan E. Rice, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, Wendy R. Sherman, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, and James B. Steinberg. "Worst Weapons in Worst Hands: U.S. Inaction on the Nuclear Terror Threat Since 9/11, and a Path of Action." National Security Advisory Group Report, July 2005.
  • Carter, Ashton B., Ronald Lehman II, Robert Einhorn, Alan A. Foley, Arnold Kanter, David Kay, et al. "Interim Report on Nuclear Threat Reduction and the Fuel Cycle." Policy Advisory Group on Nonproliferation, July 2005.
  • Perry, William J. (chair), with Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, Louis Caldera, Ashton B. Carter, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Michele A. Flournoy, Alfonso E. Lenhardt, John D. Podesta, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. “An American Security Policy: Challenge, Opportunity, Commitment." National Security Advisory Group Report, July 2003.
  • Perry, William J. (chair), with Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, Louis Caldera, Ashton B. Carter, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, Michele A. Flournoy, Alfonso E. Lenhardt, John D. Podesta, Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, and Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. "The Loose Nukes Crisis in North Korea." National Security Advisory Group Report, March 2003.
  • The Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. "Protecting America's Freedom in the Information Age." Markle Foundation, October 2002.

Reviews

Carter, Ashton B. "A Prescription for Peace." Review of No More Killing Fields: Preventing Deadly Conflict, by David A. Hamburg. Science, 300.5624 May 30, 2003: 1374.

Commentary

  • Perry, William, Ashton B. Carter, and Michael May. "After the Bomb." New York Times, June 12, 2007: A-24.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "If Necessary, Strike and Destroy: North Korea Cannot Be Allowed to Test This Missile." Washington Post, June 22, 2006.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "A Failure of Policy, Not Spying." Washington Post, April 5, 2005.
  • Carter, Ashton B., Arnold Kanter, William J. Perry, and Brent Scowcroft. "Good Nukes, Bad Nukes." New York Times, December 22, 2003.
  • Carter, Ashton B., William J. Perry, and John M. Shalikashvili. "A Scary Thought: Loose Nukes in North Korea." Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2003.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "The Crisis Last Time." New York Times, January 19, 2003.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Nuclear Over North Korea: Back to the Brink." Washington Post, October 20, 2002.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Throw the Net Worldwide." Washington Post, June 12, 2002.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Counterterror's Management Style." New York Times, June 8, 2002.
  • Carter, Ashton B., and Richard Lugar. "A New Era, A New Threat." Financial Times, May 23, 2002.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "How Ridge Can Secure the Homeland." Boston Globe, October 4, 2001.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "Countering Sokolski." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 2001.

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

  • Carter, Ashton B., and William J. Perry. "The Case for a Preemptive Strike on North Korea's Missiles." TIME.com July 8, 2006.
  • Carter, Ashton B. "The Korean Nuclear Crisis: Preventing the Truly Dangerous Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction." Harvard Magazine September/October 2003: 38-41.
  • Bellin, Eva, Ashton B. Carter, Philip B. Heyman, David Little, Louise M. Richardson, and Jessica Stern. "Understanding Terrorism: A Harvard Magazine Rountable." Harvard Magazine January-February 2002: 36-49.
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