CNN reports that longtime Defense Department official Ashton Carter, who served as deputy secretary of Defense (the second-highest position in the department) from 2011 to 2013, is "expected" to be President Obama's nominee to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. From CNN:
Barring any last minute complications, Ash Carter will be President Barack Obama's choice as the new Secretary of Defense, several U.S. administration officials told CNN.
An administration official had said that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, a former General Counsel at the Pentagon, was also still on the list of possibilities, but on Tuesday morning, sources said Johnson was no longer being considered. The prospect of an additional confirmation hearing for Johnson's replacement if he were to move to the Pentagon as the Senate switches to Republican control would have been problematic for the White House.
Carter has an extensive résumé, having served in a number of Defense Department positions and worked at Harvard and MIT. He's also a polymath:
Dr. Carter earned bachelor's degrees in physics and in medieval history from Yale University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and received his doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Theoretical physics and medieval history!
The 60-year-old Carter didn't serve in the military, but "the respect many senior military leaders have for him" dating from his previous Pentagon stints is seen as a major asset of his, CNN says.
Ashton Carter is not to be confused with Carter Ashton, who plays right wing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.