Kathleen Hicks, President Joe Biden’s nominee as deputy defense secretary and an inductee into Executive Mosaic's Wash100 for 2021, said that she will drive the Department of Defense's data prioritization during her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Hicks added that she would lead by using data to inform business decisions.
“As we move into an era of data, the department needs to move there too,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee. She will also modernize warfighting systems to be more data-centric in new operating concepts. As deputy secretary, Hicks plans to supervise the Pentagon technology modernization and reform initiatives.
“At a time of significant challenges internationally and great uncertainty surrounding defense budgets and programs, Dr. Kath Hicks is well qualified to assist Secretary Austin in realistically ensuring that budgetary decisions and military strategy are integrated,” said former defense secretary Robert Gates.
Hicks would leverage data to support business and budgetary decisions, as well as military operations. She stated that the warfighters should move to new “operational concepts,” such as the Joint All Domain Command and Control, where battlefield networks are linked across domains.
In addition, Hicks announced her support for the “defend forward” cyber posture, where cyber operators breach foreign adversary networks to understand their position and get early warnings on potential attacks on U.S. networks.
“I am supportive of the approach,” Hicks said, but added that she needs to examine “exactly how the authorities are being executed,” giving her some wiggle room to adjust her broad support in specific areas.