The nominee by President Biden for the position of defense secretary Kathleen Hicks in a congressional testimony called for the country’s space acquisitions to be made so that they leverage commercial innovation and make sure that the United States is equipped to counter technological advances from China.
Hicks, who faced the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 2rd during her confirmation hearing, became the first woman to work as the deputy defense secretary confirmed by the Senate. Hicks has experience working for the government, having previously served as the vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and was also the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy for Obama’s administration. Hick was named the head of the transition team for the Defense’s Department after the election of President Biden.
The role of deputy secretary comes with significant responsibilities, especially in budget and financial management. The former defense secretary, Robert Gates, was the one who introduced Hicks at the hearing and praised her for grasp and knowhow in the mastery of black arts during her tenure as she oversaw deep Pentagon budget cuts during the Obama presidency.
In written testimony, Hicks stated that the United States is faced with evolving security threats in space. In the getting of new technologies, it should be ensured that these technologies can heighten the effectiveness of fighting in wars, increase resilience, influence commercial technology, and innovation, and quickly be able to respond to threats in the future. Hicks called for the Department of Defense to have an inter-organizational alliance, especially in space programs, to avoid replication scenarios. Hicks further stated that if confirmed as the Defense Secretary, she would put into use congressional directives to move the Space Development Agency to the Space Force while at the same time maximizing the effectiveness of both organizations.
Hicks also gave other takeaways in her confirmation hearing that included her concern over the restrictions for entry, especially for technology firms requiring to get into business with the DoD. She called for the requirement for the lowering of challenges to non-traditional companies. She also stated that there is a delay in submitting the budget request for 2022 for the Biden administration because the officials from Trump’s administration did not share the information on the defense budget with the new team on time. Hicks also informed that there would be more scrutiny put into mergers and acquisitions in the defense industry.