White House picks Carter to move into No. 2 post at Pentagon

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Defense sources say the White House strongly preferred filling the job from within the ranks of sitting Pentagon officials.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, a favorite of many White House officials, and Navy acquisition executive Sean Stackley are the leading candidates to replace Carter as Pentagon acquisition chief.

Carter was instrumental in several aspects of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's cost-cutting program, and has closely monitored efforts to remedy troubles with the F-35 fighter program.