What they are saying about Biden’s Department of Defense nominees Kathleen Hicks and Colin Kahl Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 28, 2021

U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday announced Dr. Kathleen Hicks and Dr. Colin Kahl as his nominees for Deputy Secretary of Defense and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy respectively, and also announced Kelly Magsamen as incoming Chief of Staff at the Department of Defense.

Dr. Kathleen Hicks
Dr. Kathleen Hicks

Lawmakers, advocates, and experts praised the nominees “as crisis-tested patriots who will work with Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin to keep us safe and secure and ensure our defense policies are accountable to the American people.”

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Ambassador Wendy Sherman: Fabulous team for DoD. @kath_hicks @ColinKahl @kellymagsamen are extraordinary professionals, public servants and simply good people. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Representative Betty McCollum: Congratulations to Kathleen Hicks on being nominated to serve as Deputy Defense Secretary! [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Representative Rick Larsen, House Armed Services Committee: Two great picks for #2 and #3 in the ⁦@JoeBiden⁩ Pentagon. Looking forward to Senate confirmation and getting to work with them. ⁦@Transition46⁩ [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Representative Anthony Brown, House Armed Services Committee: .@kath_hicks brings formidable experience and vision to the job. She’s breaking barriers and is committed to fostering a diverse & inclusive culture in the Pentagon that will make us stronger With Gen Austin she will bolster our nat’l security and restore American leadership [Tweet, 12/30/20]

John McLaughlin, Former Deputy Director of the CIA: Three terrific picks for the Pentagon. Worked with two, Hicks and Magsamen, know the third by reputation. All dedicated, smart, and govt savvy. Good compliment to SecDef nominee Austin and great teammates for Tony Blinken at State and Jake Sullivan at WH. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Advisor: This is an incredibly smart and experienced core team to redirect policy and clean up whatever messes are being made at the Pentagon. Congratulations to ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ ⁦@kath_hicks⁩ and ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩ [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Michael Carpenter, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense: Can’t think of a better lineup of strategic thinkers at DOD than @kath_hicks, @ColinKahl, and @kellymagsamen. Congrats to all! [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Phillip Carter, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense: This is terrific news for DoD and the nation. @kath_hicks and @ColinKahl are gifted leaders and brilliant #natsec experts who will serve us all well in these roles. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Abe Denmark, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense: Both Kath and Colin are terrific leaders with tremendous experience and expertise. Great picks! [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Brett McGurk, Former Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS: These are truly outstanding DoD appointments. Congrats to my@FSIStanford colleague @ColinKahl, @kath_hicks, and @kellymagsamen. Together with @LloydAustin, this is a top-notch OSD team. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Rosa Brooks, Former Counselor to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy: This is great news: “Kathleen Hicks is Biden’s pick to be first female deputy Defense secretary” @kath_hicks @lc_wins [Tweet, 12/30/20]

John J. Hamre, President of CSIS: I couldn’t be more proud to have Dr. Kathleen Hicks be nominated to become Deputy Secretary of Defense. I held that job and know what it takes to succeed. Dr. Hicks is a superb choice for this important job. She has the discipline, intellect, and organizational skill to make the Department work effectively for the Secretary. I have worked with Dr. Hicks now for seven years directly, and for an additional seven years indirectly. She has a strong moral compass and a keen commitment to the success of the Department and the well-being of its military and civilian personnel. I am very pleased that President-elect Biden has selected her. [Statement, 12/30/20]

Mieke Eoyang, Senior Vice President for the National Security Program, Third Way: Am so excited to see that@kath_hicks and @ColinKahl will be nominated to be the DepSecDef and USD(P) respectively. I cannot think of two more qualified, brilliant, decent people to help lead DOD. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

J Street: Congratulations all around! We’ve had the pleasure of working with @ColinKahl and know he’ll fight for policies that represent our shared values of diplomacy, justice and peace. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Stephen Miles, Executive Director of Win Without War: Excited to see the Biden team filling out with exceptional leaders like  @kellymagsamen and @ColinKahl! Fixing the damage of the last four years will take advocates working with (and sometimes pushing) partners inside govt who know that change takes all of us. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Bishop Garrison, Human Rights First: This thread is full of exceptionally talented people that all have a deep understanding of defense & the National Security community. These are terrific selections by the President-Elect and his subordinate leadership. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Center for New American Security and former foreign policy advisor to Sen. McCain: In @kath_hicks, @ColinKahl and @kellymagsamen, DOD will gain top-flight talent and deep experience. Great to see them return to public service. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Katrina Mulligan, Managing Director for National Security, Center for American Progress: It’s official! @kath_hicks⁩ will be the Pentagon’s first female DepSecDef and @kellymagsamen⁩ will be the Pentagon’s first female chief of staff. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow at the Center for New American Security: The Trump administration has been a disaster for the Pentagon. Can’t think of 3 better people to restore, rebuild and get US defense policy going in the right direction than ⁦@kath_hicks⁩ ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩. Fantastic picks! [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution: I could not be more thrilled at this news! @kath_hicks is wise, principled, dedicated to public service & our nation’s security, a true expert on national defense, a skilled manager & builder of diverse talent, and a damn fine human being. And I am even more delighted that she and Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin will have @ColinKahl and @kellymagsamen helping them lead the Department of Defense! Stellar, stellar people. We are so fortunate. [TweetTweet, 12/30/20]

Joe Cirincione, Former President of the Ploughshares Fund: Excellent picks for two tough jobs. ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ is one of the smartest, most principled people you’ll ever meet. Hicks will break new ground in this top spot. ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩ is slated for a key position as well. Great choices. [Tweet, 12/30/20] 

Foreign Policy for America: Congratulations to Kath Hicks and FP4A advisor Colin Kahl — two tested and trusted leaders. As our country grapples with multiple overlapping crises, these are exactly the kind of innovative leaders the Biden-Harris administration needs to help reimagine national security. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Out in National Security: What wonderful news.  We have been so lucky to work with Kathleen the last year on diversity, equity, and inclusion for 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️. She is a dazzling intellect, and first rate leader. Colin has been a proactive mentor of 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ young professionals. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Joel Rubin, Executive Director of American Jewish Congress: Americans can count on @ColinKahl to be laser-focused on rebuilding the Department of Defense and keeping Americans safe. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

LCWINS (The Leadership Council for Women in National Security): Congrats to one of our own! President elect Joe Biden nominates Dr. Kath Hicks to be number two at the Pentagon — the first woman deputy secretary of defense. [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Jon Wolfsthal, Senior Advisor to Global Zero: Kathleen Hicks is, simply, an incredible public servant, informed, capable, thoughtful, committed and a deep expert on all aspects of defense and security policy.  Hope this is true.  @kath_hicks [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Rachel Rizzo, Truman National Security Project: I got chills reading this! ⁦@kath_hicks⁩ ⁦@ColinKahl⁩ and ⁦@kellymagsamen⁩ what a dream team 🤩 [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Naima Green-Riley, Former Foreign Service Officer: Congratulations, @kath_hicks and @ColinKahl! This Administration is going to be jam-packed with super stars [Tweet, 12/30/20]

Jim Golby, Clements Center for National Security: This is fantastic news! Congratulations to @kath_hicks, who will be a phenomenal deputy SecDef! I’m also thrilled to see @ColinKahl  selected as the nominee for USD(P)! He is a brilliant thinker and a wonderful boss who will be a great fit for this job. This will be a strong team of civilian leaders at the Pentagon. @kellymagsamen is also a terrific and reassuring choice as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense. [TweetTweetTweet, 12/30/20]

Loren DeJonge Schulman, Partnership for Public Service: I am just so happy I don’t know how to use words [Tweet, 12/30/20]

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