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Stanford scholar Colin Kahl is Biden’s pick for under secretary of defense for policy

President-elect Joe Biden picks Colin Kahl to work with Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin at the Department of Defense.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Colin Kahl, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, as under secretary of defense for policy.

Colin Kahl (Image credit: Courtesy CISAC)

In a statement released Dec. 30 on the Biden-Harris transition website, Biden said that Kahl, along with his choice for deputy defense secretary, Kathleen Hicks, “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.”

From October 2014 to January 2017, Kahl was the deputy assistant to President Obama and the national security advisor to Vice President Biden. In that role, Kahl served as a senior advisor to both President Obama and then-Vice President Biden on U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs. Kahl also represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee.

Biden expanded further, “Dr. Kath Hicks and Dr. Colin Kahl 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. They will be trusted partners to me, the vice president-elect, and Secretary-designate Austin – as well as our dedicated civilian and military team – as we work to restore responsible American leadership on the world stage.”

At Stanford, Kahl is also co-director of the Center for International Security (CISAC). His book on the global impact of COVID-19, Aftershocks: Pandemic Politics and the End of the Old International Order, is set to publish later this year.

He is also a Strategic Consultant to the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.