Colin Kahl
Senior Advisor

Colin is the Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), and the faculty director of CISAC’s Program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance. 

From April 2021-July 2023, he served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the US Department of Defense. In that role, he was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense for all matters related to national security and defense policy and represented the Department as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee. He oversaw the writing of the 2022 National Defense Strategy, which focused the Pentagon’s efforts on the “pacing challenge” posed by the People’s Republic of China, and he led the Department’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and numerous other international crises. In June 2023, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III awarded Colin the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian award presented by the Secretary of Defense.

During the Obama Administration, Colin served as Deputy Assistant to President Obama and National Security Advisor to the Vice President Biden from October 2014 to January 2017. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East from February 2009 to December 2011, for which he received the Outstanding Public Service Medal in July 2011.

He received his B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan (1993) and his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University (2000).