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President Barack Obama’s choice for his next defense chief, to be announced Friday, faces conflict abroad, budget retrenchment at home and the expectation that the White House will have a heavy hand in Pentagon affairs — at least if past is prologue.

For the job, Obama is turning to a seasoned Pentagon operative who rose up the short list when others took themselves out of contention.

The White House said Obama will announce his pick Friday. Ashton Carter will be nominated to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to people close to the process who spoke on condition of anonymity before the announcement.