Dr. Colin H. Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Dr. Colin H. Kahl

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Colin Hackett Kahl was born in Michigan and grew up in Richmond, California. He earned an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Michigan and received a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He was a national security fellow at Harvard University and was an International Affairs Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations. 

He has been a professor at the University of Minnesota. He was deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East for two years during President Obama’s administration.  

He was an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. 

He was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, approved by the Senate after the invocation of cloture, and assumed his office in April 2021. 

In the News…

The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy said that ISIS-Khorasan, the Islamic State Branch based in Afghanistan, is working to strengthen its capabilities and could be able to conduct an international attack within six months to a year. Under Secretary Colin Kahl told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the terror group could “generate that capability in somewhere between six and 12 months, according to current assessments by the intelligence committee.” 

He said that al Qaeda’s timeline for when they could be able to launch an external attack is about twice as long. “And for al Qaeda, it would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability,” he said. “We have to remain vigilant against that possibility.” The under secretary noted that intelligence officials are “fairly certain that they have the intention” to go down this path. 

Despite the supposed intentions of the terror organizations, Under Secretary. Kahl explained that the risk of an attack on U.S. soil “is at its lowest point since September 11, 2001.” 


Back to top