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Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Wednesday he would select former Obama administration officials Kathleen Hicks and Colin Kahl to serve in top civilian roles at the Department of Defense.

The state of play: Hicks, who previously served as a deputy under secretary of defense and has remained a trusted Biden adviser, was nominated to become the first female deputy defense secretary.

  • Kahl was nominated as under secretary of defense for policy. He previously served as deputy assistant to President Obama and national security adviser to then-Vice President Biden.

The big picture: Hicks and Kahl combined have decades of experience and deep ties in the Pentagon. Their selections come amid tensions between the Biden transition team and Pentagon leadership, which has allegedly limited defense briefings.

  • "They will be trusted partners to me, the vice president-elect, and Secretary-designate Austin — as well as our dedicated civilian and military team — as we work to restore responsible American leadership on the world stage," Biden said in a statement.
  • "They share my strong belief that we need empowered civilian voices serving alongside military leaders at the Department of Defense to ensure we are always accountable to the American people," Secretary of Defense nominee Lloyd Austin added.

Their nominations also continue the trend of Biden bringing his most trusted allies into his administration — many of whom served during the Obama years.

Go deeper

Hispanic congressmen push for purge of Confederate renaming panel

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro wears a face mask during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill on September 16, 2020. PHOTO: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Two Hispanic congressmen, Reps. Joaquin Castro and Ruben Gallego, are asking Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to remove Trump loyalists from a panel charged with renaming 10 Army bases that honor Confederate leaders.

Why it matters: The request, outlined in a letter Friday written by Castro and Gallego, comes as the Biden administration purges remaining Trump-era appointees and as Hispanic and Black leaders demand that some Army bases be renamed after people of color.

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.