Biden taps Kathleen Hicks as deputy defense secretary pick; first female to hold post if confirmed

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President-elect Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday announced that he has nominated Kathleen Hicks to be his deputy secretary of defense.

If confirmed, she would be the first woman to hold the prominent Pentagon position. Christine Fox served as deputy secretary of defense in an acting capacity temporarily between 2013-2014.

Mr. Biden’s transition team also announced that Colin Kahl, a national security adviser to Mr. Biden when he was vice president, has been nominated to serve as the undersecretary of defense for policy as well as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East.

“These respected, accomplished civilian leaders will help lead the Department of Defense with integrity and resolve, safeguard the lives and interests of the American people, and ensure that we fulfill our most sacred obligation: to equip and protect those who serve our country, and to care for them and their families both during and after their service,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.

The president-elect said that both individuals have “the broad experience and crisis-tested judgment necessary to help tackle the litany of challenges we face today, and all those we may confront tomorrow.”

Ms. Hicks formerly served as the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy under the Obama administration and as the deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces.

After her role in the Obama White House, she became the senior vice president and director of the international security program at the D.C.-based think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Hicks also serves on Mr. Biden’s transition team, leading the defense agency review.

Ms. Hicks and Mr. Kahl now join retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who was tapped to be Mr. Biden’s defense secretary, in shaping incoming Pentagon leadership.

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