October 25, 2022

Ashton Carter, Defense Chief Who Opened Combat Roles to Women, Dies at 68

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists: Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, Brian Murphy

Ashton B. Carter, a longtime adviser on nuclear and strategic policies who served as defense secretary in the last years of the Obama administration, overseeing the opening of military combat roles to women and helping boost Pentagon ties with Silicon Valley, died Oct. 24 in Boston. He was 68.


After leaving Washington, Mr. Carter became the director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

“He was … someone who could use his political capital to invest in the human capital side,” said Katherine L. Kuzminski, a military policy expert at Center for a New American Security.

Mr. Carter’s decision to open combat billets to women upended policy as old as the U.S. military itself: Women could only support, not fight in, America’s wars. Their opportunities to serve grew with each conflict, particularly during World War II, when women could enlist and serve in new ways.

Read the full story and more from The Washington Post.


  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Deputy Director of Studies, Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is the Deputy Director of Studies, and the Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research special...