Alum tapped for deputy secretary of defense

Mount Holyoke College alum Kathleen Hicks ’91 has been nominated as the deputy secretary of defense. She would be the first woman to serve in the role.

By Christian Feuerstein

Kathleen Hicks ’91 has been named as President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s pick to be the deputy secretary of defense. If confirmed by the Senate, she will be the first woman to serve in the role. 

In a statement, President-elect Biden said, “Dr. Kath Hicks … [has] 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.”  

Hicks served in the Obama administration, and was confirmed by the Senate in 2012 as the principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy. There, she was responsible for advising the under secretary of defense for policy and the secretary of defense on U.S. national defense policy and strategy. 

She has received distinguished service awards from three secretaries of defense and a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense Senior Professional Women’s Association Excellence in Leadership Award, and the Walter Beach Pi Sigma Alpha Award from the National Capital Area Political Science Association.

She currently leads the Biden-Harris transition team’s defense agency review team. She is a senior vice president and director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as well as the Donald Marron Scholar at the Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  

Read the announcement