President Obama will soon nominate Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter to become deputy defense secretary, the White House announced Tuesday.

Carter has been atop the short list since William Lynn, the current No. 2 civilian at the Pentagon, announced last month that he would step down.

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.

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