Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Dr. Kathleen Hicks

Deputy Secretary of Defense

Kathleen Holland Hicks was born in September 1970 in Fairfield California. She earned an undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College, and an MPA in national security studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She received a Ph.D. in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for three years. She began her career as a civil servant at the Office of the Secretary of Defense during President Obama’s administration, holding a variety of positions from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service. She served four years as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense confirmed by the Senate as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

She was nominated by President Joe Biden to be U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. She was confirmed by the Senate and sworn into office in February 2021.

She is married to Thomas Hicks and they have three children.

In the News…

A 2019 report from the Government Accountability Office found that service members of color were more often the subject of court-martial proceedings. According to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Kathleen Hicks, such studies have had similar findings for “decades.”

“A plethora of studies have identified the problem, and we believe we can build on these to target meaningful solutions,” the deputy secretary said. “We have directed the rapid collection of the data required to conduct a root-cause analysis of racial disparities in military justice. Working closely with the secretaries for the Military Departments, we expect to have that data ready for analysis by the end of this month.”

She added, “The men and women who risk their lives in defense of the United States deserve better, and we are committed to change. Leveraging evidence-based best practices, we will drive meaningful and lasting progress. And while driving change across one of the world’s largest enterprises is never easy, this challenge demands we do so quickly and methodically.”


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