As undersecretary of defense for policy, Colin Kahl is one of the Biden administration’s senior most policymakers, tasked with formulating and coordinating the White House’s national security strategy.
In an hour-long interview on FP Live, Kahl told FP’s Ravi Agrawal that the Pentagon is working “24/7” to understand the scope and scale of the recent leaks, and to make sure it never happens again.
On Ukraine, Kahl pushed back against criticisms that the Biden administration has slow-rolled aid to Ukraine. “We are all in,” he said, adding that “Russia has already lost, by every measure.”
On China, “the reality is that Beijing is not picking up the phone when we’re calling them,” said Kahl. And on Taiwan, he explained how the Pentagon thinks about deterrence: “It’s important that the Chinese leadership wakes up every single day and says ‘today is not the day’ to launch an invasion across the Taiwan Strait … or to engage in other aggression that could threaten the rules-based international order.”
For more, watch the full discussion on video or read a lightly edited and condensed transcript, exclusive to FP Insiders.
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U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy
Dr. Colin Kahl is the U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, the principal advisor to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He leads the formulation and coordination of national security policy for the U.S. Defense Department. Previously, Kahl served as a deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden from 2014 to 2017. Before returning to government, Kahl was a co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the inaugural Steven C. Házy senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and a professor of political science at Stanford University.
Editor in chief, Foreign Policy
Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, the host of FP Live, and a regular world affairs analyst on TV and radio. Before joining FP in 2018, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. He has shared a Peabody Award and three Emmy nominations for his work as a TV producer, and his writing for FP was part of a series nominated for a 2020 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. Agrawal is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy. He is a graduate of Harvard University.