U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced additional nominations to fill the posts in the Department of Defense on Wednesday, days after he blamed current Pentagon officials for obstructing the presidential transition.
The Biden transition team announced on its website that Kathleen Hicks has been nominated for deputy secretary of defense, and that Colin Kahl has been tapped as under secretary of defense for policy.
Currently senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Hicks served as deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces, as well as principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration. She will be the first female to serve as deputy secretary of defense.
Kahl began his career in government as an action officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and later served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East from 2009 to 2011, according to the biography posted on the transition website.
“They know the Pentagon inside and out, and will work with Secretary-designate @LloydAustin to keep us safe and secure,” the transition team said in a tweet, referring to the latest nominees. Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, was Biden’s pick for secretary of defense.
The nominations came two days after Biden blamed Trump administration officials, those in the Pentagon in particular, for obstructing the presidential transition by withholding access to key information.
“We’ve encountered roadblocks from the political leadership in the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said on Monday while delivering a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas.”
Those claims, however, were disputed by Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who said in a statement later on the same day that Pentagon officials “have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so in a transparent and collegial manner.”