| Colin Kahl |
|Alma mater||University of Michigan, Columbia University|
|Member of||Center for a New American Security/People, Council on Foreign Relations/Members 2|
Colin Hackett Kahl is an American political adviser and academic who served as the National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States. He is currently the Steven C. Házy Senior Fellow at Stanford University. President Joe Biden has nominated him to be the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
In the Barack Obama administration, Kahl was involved in the negotiations of the Iran Nuclear Deal. After leaving the administration, he was subject to investigations by the Israeli intelligence company Black Cube.
Early life and education
Kahl was born in Michigan and raised in Richmond, California. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1989. Kahl earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Michigan in 1993 and a PhD in political science from Columbia University in 2000. Under his advisors Robert Jervis and Jack Snyder, Kahl's doctoral thesis was entitled States, scarcity, and civil strife in the developing world [Kenya].
From 1997 to 1998, he was a national security fellow at Harvard University. From 2005 to 2006, he was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, working on stability operations policy at the Department of Defense. He has been a professor at the University of Minnesota. Kahl has published in leading security studies journals, such as International Security and Security Studies, as well as Foreign Affairs.
Barack Obama administration
From 2009 to 2011, he was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East in the Barack Obama administration. In 2011, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In 2014, he became national security adviser to then-Vice President Joe Biden. In the Obama administration, Kahl was directly involved in negotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal, as well as publicly advocating for it.
In May 2018, it was revealed that the Israeli intelligence firm Black Cube (whose "political work frequently intersects with Israel’s foreign policy priorities") had investigated and possibly tried to entrap him. According to some sources, this work was done on behalf of Donald Trump aides.
Joe Biden administration
Kahl has been nominated by Biden to serve as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. His nomination has been subject to controversy in the Senate, with the Republican Caucus unanimously opposing his confirmation due to his support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, as well as for his criticisms of Trump administration policies. Republicans also argued that Kahl had tweeted out classified information, demanding an FBI investigation into it; experts on classification said the Republican accusations against Kahl were politically motivated and baseless.
- States, Scarcity, and Civil Strife in the Developing World, Princeton, N.J.; Woodstock: Princeton University Press, 2008.