He’s the “superhero of sequestration,” a theoretical physicist and a favorite of Republicans on Capitol Hill.

And soon, Ashton Carter is likely to be President Obama’s fourth secretary of Defense.

The veteran official is expected to be named as the replacement for Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon, with the White House singing his praises ahead of an announcement that could come any day.

The selection of Carter, a Rhodes Scholar who last served as deputy secretary of Defense, is seen as a safe choice that is likely to satisfy Republican critics of Obama’s foreign policy.

By tapping someone with years of experience in defense policy, the president could allay concerns that Hagel’s forced resignation was an attempt to marginalize military leaders across the Potomac.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday praised Carter as someone who had served “ably” at the Pentagon, including a long stint as leader of the all-important weapons procurement program.

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