(Connecticut & St John's 1976) (24 September 1954 - 24 October 2022)
Former US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who served in the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency, has sadly died aged 68.
Carter began his career as a physicist, receiving a bachelor’s degree in physics and medieval history from Yale University in 1976. He was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford, where he earned his doctorate in physics in 1979.
Carter guided U.S. policy in the Middle East during the rise of Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, and later engaged in academic studies on counterterrorism.
He is also credited with lifting the ban on transgender people serving in the US military. The policy change in 2016 allowed troops to transition gender while serving. It also set standards for medical care and prevented service members from being discharged or denied re-enlistment based on their gender identity.
Carter made other significant changes to the Department of Defense (DoD), such as opening all military occupations to women without exception for the first time.
After leaving government, he led the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School.
"He devoted his professional life to the national security of the United States and teaching students about international affairs," his family said in a statement. "His sudden loss will be felt by all who knew him."