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…

In a press briefing, the Pentagon outlined that the next $1 billion in aid for Ukraine could go forward. However, all eyes remained on China and Taiwan in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei which saw Chinese forces engage in live fire drills around Taiwan in an escalating show of force. 

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin H. Kahl, the number 3 leader at the Pentagon, briefed reporters amid an apparent stalemate between American and Chinese defense officials. He stated that Beijing won’t even take calls from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or Joint Chief Chair Mark Milley. 

Despite China’s aggression — that included state media threatening to shoot down the U.S. Air Force plane that Speaker Pelosi was traveling on and China’s subsequent live fire exercises surrounding Taiwan — the Pentagon stood by its earlier assessment that China would not seize Taiwan by force within the next two years.  

Under Secretary Kahl also sought to minimize the threat Chinese aggression poses to international trade by activities or open hostility in the Taiwan Strait. “My sense,” he explained, “is that there hasn’t been much of an effect on Taiwan’s economy or the international economy” from China’s recent live fire drills.  


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