Inside The Five-Sided Box
An Evening with Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter
The OFJCC will host the United States' former Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter. Mr. Carter will speak on his decades of experience working inside the Pentagon, from harrowing moments in history, to major legal and political victories. Mr. Carter brings a wealth of knowledge about security and defense that is all too relevant in today's world.
The world's largest organization is also one of its most mysterious. The Department of Defense (DOD) employs more men and women than Amazon, McDonald's, FedEx, Target and General Electric combined. Yet most Americans know little about it beyond its $700 billion budget and iconic five-sided headquarters. Now, the leader who knows the Pentagon best pulls back the curtain on an institution that many regard with a mix of awe and suspicion, revealing not just what it does but why, and why it matters.
Ash Carter's new book, Inside The Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, is the ultimate insider's account of how America's military works—and how it should work. It is also a timely reassessment of US foreign policy and national security strategies in a rapidly changing world, and a timeless reflection on the leadership qualities essential to not only run but also reform a dauntingly complex organization.
A Rhodes scholar with a PhD in nuclear physics, Ash Carter brought a scientist's mind and a patriot's heart to his 36 years with the Pentagon, serving presidents in both Democratic and Republican administrations. His leadership encompassed some of America's most consequential strategic eras, from the Cold War through the fall of the Berlin Wall, both Iraq wars, 9/11, the counter-ISIS campaign and the continuing war in Afghanistan. Carter helped shape programs from the controversial Star Wars initiative and the peaceful de-nuclearization of the Soviet satellite states to the reforms in military contracting he introduced as the Pentagon's "acquisition czar."
As the 25th Secretary of Defense, Carter brought further transformation to an organization steeped in tradition. He opened all combat roles in the US military to women in a historic 2015 decision; launched major technology initiatives, working with Silicon Valley innovators to bridge a dangerous divide between the Pentagon and the world of high tech; and helped engineer and carry out the plan that brought ISIS to its knees.
Carter served in numerous jobs in the Department of Defense, most recently as Secretary of Defense under President Obama. He currently serves as the Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School where he leads the Technology and Public Purpose Project. He is also an innovation fellow at MIT. A native of Philadelphia, Carter and his wife, Stephanie, have two grown children.