As President-elect Joe Biden continues to round out his Cabinet, he has selected Kathleen Hicks, a think tank strategist and former Pentagon official during the Obama administration, to serve as deputy defense secretary, sources told Politico and The Washington Post. If approved by the Senate, Hicks would become the first woman confirmed to the Defense Department's no. 2 role (Christine Fox served in the role in an acting capacity for several months in the Obama administration).
Hicks has reportedly been considered the frontrunner for the job for several months thanks to her experience and familiarity with Biden. Additionally, Politico reports, the pick "is in some ways an olive branch to a prominent group of female national security leaders" who urged Biden to nominate Michelle Flournoy for defense secretary. Flournoy would have been the first woman to fill the top Pentagon post if confirmed, but Biden instead tapped Gen. Lloyd Austin.
By pairing Hicks with Austin at the top, Biden is seemingly adding more civilian oversight to the department, Politico reports. While Austin is widely respected, critics are wary of Congress granting another waiver for a military official to serve in the role. Read more at Politico and The Washington Post.