Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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9/30/11: Ashton Carter ’76

So what can you do with a double major in physics and medieval history? If you’re Ashton Carter ’76, and you follow it up with a Rhodes Scholarship, a doctorate in physics from Oxford, and decades of experience in nuclear arms control, counterterrorism, and military procurement, you could be the second-in-command at the US Department of Defense. Carter was in fact confirmed as Deputy Secretary of State on September 23 by a unanimous vote in the US Senate.

Carter has moved between positions in government and academia throughout his career. Since 1984, he has been on the faculty at Harvard, where he is the Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. But he took a leave during the Clinton Administration to work in the defense department, where he helped sort out the risky problem of nuclear arms in the former Soviet republics, and the state department, where he worked on North Korea policy. Since 2009, he has been back at the defense department as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics before taking on his new post.

Filed under Rhodes scholarship, milestones
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