Officials: Ashton Carter is Obama's likely Pentagon pick
WASHINGTON - Administration officials say Ashton Carter has emerged as the top candidate for the job of defense secretary.
But the officials caution that President Barack Obama hasn't made a final decision.
The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the president's decision-making process publicly.
Carter moved to the White House's short list after several leading contenders pulled their names from consideration.
The 60-year-old physicist has extensive experience in the national security arena. Before he served as deputy defense secretary from October 2011 to December 2013 he was the Pentagon's technology and weapons-buying chief for more than two years.
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jim Inhofe (IHN'-hahf) of Oklahoma, says he would "very strongly" support Carter's nomination.