U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated a former weapons purchaser at the Pentagon, Ashton Carter, to become the next U.S. secretary of defense.
Ashton's nomination was widely expected and comes after Chuck Hagel announced on November 24 that he was stepping down as the Pentagon chief.
Carter, who worked from 2009-11 as the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, helped speed the production and shipment of weaponry and armored vehicles for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He does not have any uniformed military experience.
The next defense chief -- Obama's fourth -- will face challenges that include Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the battle against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Iran's nuclear program, and an increasingly assertive China.