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Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A senior Republican senator says President Barack Obama has chosen Ashton Carter as his nominee for defense secretary.

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma says he was informed of the decision early Tuesday.

Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he supports the choice of Carter to lead the Pentagon "very strongly."

Carter is a former deputy defense secretary. If confirmed, he would replace Chuck Hagel. Hagel announced his resignation last month.

White House officials say no final decision has been made.