Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s top policy official, is set to step down from his post in mid-July.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement on Wednesday confirmed Kahl’s plans to resign this summer as under secretary of defense for policy, a position he has held since April 2021.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin H. Kahl holds a press briefing about the latest security assistance package in support of Ukraine, the Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Washington, D.C., Aug. 8, 2022. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

“Since his appointment, Dr. Kahl has been a trusted adviser and a resolute leader in our mission to safeguard American interests, both inside the Pentagon and across the interagency. His strategic insights, deep understanding of international relations, and staunch commitment to strengthening our national defense have been crucial in shaping our policies, seizing geopolitical opportunities, and tackling a range of challenges around the world,” Austin said.

The planned resignation date would allow Kahl to remain in his role as Austin’s senior policy adviser through NATO’s upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania this July. 

Kahl was confirmed in the Senate by a party-line vote, which followed a contentious nomination process where he faced scrutiny from Republican lawmakers over previous social media posts criticizing the Trump administration and for his role in crafting the Iran Nuclear Deal (Defense Daily, March 11 2021). 

In his statement, Austin noted Kahl’s role in helping to craft the new National Defense Strategy and his work to support the billions of dollars in security assistance efforts to assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s ongoing invasion.

“We are grateful for his unwavering dedication and probing intellect. I have personally valued Colin’s leadership and counsel, and I have been continually impressed by his seriousness of purpose, his commitment to America’s national security, and his reverence for public service. Our department is stronger and better prepared for future security challenges because of Colin’s distinguished service,” Austin said.

Kahl, who previously served as the national security adviser to the vice president during the Obama administration, is poised to return to his role as a professor at Stanford University, according to press reports.