U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has picked Kathleen Hicks, former principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, to serve as deputy defense secretary. Once officially appointed, Hicks will be the first female deputy defense secretary in U.S. history. Hicks was of a view that reducing the American forces stationed in South Korea will ultimately weaken America’s footing on the Korean Peninsula.
Biden’s transition team announced Wednesday local time that Colin Kahl, who served as national security advisor to the vice president, will be Biden’s nominee for under secretary of defense for policy. Having served as senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Hicks is currently leading Defense Agency Review Teams under the Biden’s transition committee. Under the Obama administration, she handled the work of the Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG) at the Department of Defense as part of the “pivot to Asia” strategy.
Hicks has also been active in offering contributions and interviews on China and North Korea among many Asian topics. “A unilateral drawdown of American military personnel should continue to be off the table,” Hicks argued at a CSIS commentary published after North Korea-U.S. summit in Singapore in June 2018, saying that withdrawal will degrade America’s negotiating position on the peninsula, harm its ability to protect Americans and secure the economy and reduce the country’s advantages against potential threats from China and Russia. In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) in February 2017, Hicks called for a resolute action from Washington, warning against the possibility of North Korea’s ultimately becoming a nuclear power.