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Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter is stepping down from his post on Dec. 4, announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday. Hagel said he "reluctantly accepted" Carter's resignation. "Ash has been an extraordinarily loyal and effective deputy secretary," said Hagel. "The department will miss him—I will miss him," he said in his Oct. 10 statement. Carter became deputy defense secretary in October 2011 after having served since April 2009 as the Pentagon's acquisition executive. "I have continually relied upon Ash to help solve the toughest challenges facing the Department of Defense," said Hagel. "I particularly appreciate his work spearheading the Strategic Choices and Management Review, which put the department in a far stronger position to manage through unprecedented budget uncertainty," he said. (See also AFPS report by Jim Garamone.)