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Kathleen H. Hicks

Former Donald Marron Scholar


Kathleen Hicks is the 35th deputy secretary of defense, sworn in on Feb. 9, 2021. Most recently, she was the vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at CSIS. With over 50 resident staff and an extensive network of nonresident affiliates, the CSIS International Security Program undertakes one of the most ambitious research and policy agendas in the security field. Dr. Hicks is a frequent writer and lecturer on geopolitics, national security, and defense matters. She served in the Obama administration as principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy and deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces. She led the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. She also oversaw Department of Defense contingency and theater campaign planning. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Hicks served as a senior fellow in the CSIS International Security Program. From 1993 to 2006, she served as a career civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, rising from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service.

Dr. Hicks formally served as the Donald Marron Scholar at the Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She also served on the Boards of Advisors for the Truman Center and Soldier Strong and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Hicks served on the National Commission on the Future of the Army and currently serves on the Commission on the National Defense Strategy. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.A. from the University of Maryland, and an A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College. She is the recipient of distinguished service awards from three secretaries of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and received the 2011 DOD Senior Professional Women’s Association Excellence in Leadership Award.


  1. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Bad Idea: Arguing Over Capabilities- vs. Threat-based Planning,” Defense 360, December 4, 2017,
  2. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Now What? The American Citizen, World Order, and Building a New Foreign Policy Consensus,” Texas National Security Review, October 25, 2017,
  3. Alice H. Friend and Kathleen H. Hicks, “Trump Gave the Military More Power, But Here’s What Really Concerns Us,” Defense One, July 7, 2017,
  4. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Defense Strategy and the Iron Triangle of Painful Tradeoffs,” CSIS, June 22, 2017,
  5. Todd Harrison, Kathleen Hicks, Andrew Hunter, and Mark Cancian, “An Open Letter on BRAC,” Defense 360, June 19, 2017,
  6. Michael Green, Kathleen Hicks, Zack Cooper, et. al., Countering Coercion in Maritime Asia, CSIS, May 2017,
  7. Heather Conley and Kathleen Hicks, “There is No Alternative to Sovereign Choice,” CSIS, April 27, 2017,
  8. Melissa G. Dalton, et. al., Deterring Iran After the Nuclear Deal, CSIS, March 2017,
  9. Lisa Sawyer Samp, et. al., Recalibrating US Strategy for Russia: A New Time for Choosing, CSIS, March 2017,
  10. Kathleen Hicks, “Self-Help for the Grieving Foreign Policy Practitioner,” War on the Rocks, March 31, 2017.
  11. Kathleen H. Hicks and Andrew Hunter, Assessing the Third Offset Strategy, CSIS, March 2017,
  12. Kathleen Hicks and Andrew Hunter, “What Will Replace the Third Offset? Lessons from Past Innovation Strategies,” Defense One, March 17. 2017.
  13. Kathleen Hicks, “Civilian Control of the Armed Forces,” Defense 360, January 11, 2017,
  14. Kathleen H. Hicks, Richard M. Rossow, and Andrew Metrick, US-India Security Cooperation: Progress and Promise for the Next Administration, CSIS, October 2016,
  15. Kathleen Hicks, “What Will Americans Do About Their Fear of Terrorism,” The Atlantic, August 17, 2016,
  16. Kathleen H. Hicks, et. al., Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe, CSIS, July 2016,
  17. Kathleen H. Hicks, Heather A. Conley, et. al., Evaluating Future U.S. Army Force Posture in Europe: Phase II Report, CSIS, June 2016,
  18. Kathleen H. Hicks, et. al., Landing Together: Pacific Amphibious Development and Implications for the U.S. Fleet, CSIS, June 2016,
  19. Kathleen Hicks and Colin McElhinny, “Crowdsourcing Perspectives on Defense Reform,” CSIS, May 16, 2016,
  20. Kathleen H. Hicks, Michael J. Green, and Heather A. Conley, “Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand the Value of U.S. Bases Overseas,” Foreign Policy, April 7, 2016,
  21. Kathleen Hicks, “Weathering the Storm: Civil-Military Tension During Presidential Transitions,” War on the Rocks, April 7, 2016,
  22. Kathleen Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” CSIS, FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, Issue 28, February 26, 2016,
  23. Kathleen H. Hicks and Heather A. Conley, Evaluating Future U.S. Army Force Posture in Europe: Phase I Report, CSIS, February 2016,
  24. National Commission on the Future of the Army Report, January 28, 2016,
  25. Michael J. Green and Kathleen H. Hicks, “Revving up the Balance to Asia,” CSIS, January 26, 2016,
  26. Kathleen H. Hicks, et. al., “Defense Outlook 2016: What to Know, What to Expect,” CSIS, January 26, 2016,
  27. Michael Green, Kathleen Hicks, and Mark Cancian, Asia-Pacific Rebalance 2025, CSIS, January 2016,
  28. Kathleen H. Hicks, “America’s Changing Role in the World,” in Global Forecast 2015, November 2015,
  29. Jon B. Alterman and Kathleen H. Hicks, Federated Defense in the Middle East, CSIS, September 17, 2015
  30. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, Issue 22, August 2015
  31. Kathleen H. Hicks, “New Chairman, New Challenges,” CSIS Commentary, May 5, 2015
  32. Kathleen H. Hicks, et. al., Defense Reform Consensus, Newsletter – Open Letter, CSIS, April 29, 2015
  33. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Mind the Gap: Spanning the Divide Between Academics and Policy,” War on the Rocks, March 23, 2015.
  34. Kathleen Hicks, “OCO Continues to Mask Sequestration’s Impact,” The FY 2016 Budget: The Defense Impact, CSIS, February 3, 2015
  35. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter – January 2015
  36. Federated Defense in Asia Report, December 11, 2014
  37. Kathleen H. Hicks, “The Case for Deterrence,” Global Forecast 2015, November 13, 2014
  38. Kathleen Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter – October 2014
  39. Clark Murdock, Kathleen Hicks, et. al., “Next Level Questions on Iraq Operations,” CSIS Critical Questions, August 13, 2014
  40. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter – July 2014
  41. Kathleen H. Hicks, “The Way Ahead on Iraq? Through Syria,“ Wall Street Journal Washington Wire, June 26, 2014
  42. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Obama’s West Point Speech and the Use of Force,” Wall Street Journal Washington Wire, May 28, 2014
  43. Kathleen H. Hicks, “When is Selective Engagement Too Selective?” CSIS Commentary, May 20, 2014
  44. Kathleen H. Hicks, “When Putin’s ‘Loss’ Isn’t Seen as a US ‘Win’,” Wall Street Journal Washington Wire, May 16, 2014
  45. Kathleen H. Hicks, “21st Century Strategic Planning” Defense News, April 21, 2014
  46. Kathleen H. Hicks, ed., “The State of US Power: Perceptions Across the Globe,” CSIS Critical Questions, April 8, 2014
  47. Kathleen H. Hicks, Implications of the Future Security Environment for Maritime Operations, Working Paper for the Maritime Security, Seapower, and Trade Conference, US Naval War College, March 24, 2014
  48. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter-March 2014
  49. Transatlantic Forum: Rebalancing and Reinforcing the Transatlantic Bond, Report of the SACT Forum, February 28, 2014
  50. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter-February 2014
  51. Kathleen H. Hicks, “From the Director’s Chair,” FYSA: For Your Situational Awareness, ISP Newsletter-November 2013
  52. Kathleen H. Hicks, “Can We Rebuild a National Security Consensus,” Global Forecast 2014, November 13, 2013
  53. Congressional Testimony
  54. Authorization for the Use of Military Force,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee, June 20, 2017,
  55. Civilian Control of the Armed Forces,” Senate Armed Services Committee, January 11, 2017,
  56. Objectives and Future Direction for the Security Component of the Rebalance,” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, March 31, 2016,
  57. Global Challenges, U.S. National Security Strategy, And Defense Organization,” Senate Armed Services Committee, October 22, 2015,
  58. The Risk of Nation-State Conflict: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran,” House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence, November 13, 2014,