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…

As the war in Ukraine enters its twelfth month, the Defense Department’s Undersecretary for Policy, Dr. Colin Kahl, declared that Russia has “no chance” to achieve its overarching objectives there. 

Kahl, who recently returned from Ukraine, said he feels Russia is incapable of accomplishing the goals of President Vladimir Putin, and, if he were able to do so, it would have happened in the initial days and weeks of the invasion. 

“The one thing I’m completely certain of: I don’t know about the Ukrainian side, but on the Russian side, there’s no chance that the Russians are going to achieve their strategic objectives. None,” Kahl said. “Because if those objectives were to wipe Ukraine off the map, replace its regime, bite off a huge chunk of the country, divide the West, weaken NATO — every single one of those objectives that Putin said has been flipped completely on its head.” 

“There’s no question about that,” he added. “NATO is not weaker; it’s emerged stronger. The world is not divided; it’s more united. Russia is not stronger; they’re weaker. They have far less territorial control than they did after, say, a month after the conflict.” 

Putin, Dr. Kahl said, “serially miscalculated Ukrainians’ capabilities, will, and resolve and the resolve of the rest of the world.” 


Back to top