A Pentagon insider has emerged as the favorite to succeed outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, CNN reports.
According to the outlet, President Barack Obama is likely to nominate former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to Hagel's post, "[b]arring any last-minute complications."
Administration officials told CNN that Carter has edged out Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's former general counsel, for the job.
Carter was the Pentagon's No. 2 official from 2011 to 2013, and also served in the Clinton-era Defense Department as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.
In 2012, Carter was a top prospect to succeed Leon Panetta as defense secretary, but Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, ultimately secured the post. Amid internal clashes with the administration over U.S. policy in Russia and Syria, Hagel announced late last month that he was stepping down.