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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks' Meeting With the Reserve Forces Policy Board

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks spoke during an open session of the Reserve Forces Policy Board quarterly meeting on February 15, 2023.

During the session, she briefed board members on the strategic importance of reserve forces in Secretary Austin's National Defense Strategy, to include their unique role as "citizen soldiers" – critical to bridging the military / civilian divide.

"While the geopolitical landscape has changed, the role of the reserve component is as important as ever," said Deputy Secretary Hicks. "A return to strategic competition does not mean we're returning to a strategic reserve. To the contrary, the reserves remain a vital operational component for our force. Our reserve component gives us an asymmetric advantage over our global competitors."

During a question-and-answer period, board members asked the deputy secretary about the role of reserve forces in homeland defense, advice on attracting and retaining the best talent, and insight on translating civilian skills to military occupational specialties to enhance mission readiness.

The board also met with Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Ashish Vazirani, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Personnel Policy Stephanie Miller, Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven, Under Secretary of the Army Gabe Camarillo, Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff SEAC Ramón Colon-Lopez.

The Reserve Forces Policy Board is, by law, a federal advisory committee within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As mandated by Congress, it serves as an independent adviser to provide advice and recommendations directly to the Secretary of Defense on strategies, policies, and practices designed to improve and enhance the capabilities, efficiency, and effectiveness of the reserve components.

The 20-member Board has a civilian chairman and includes a non-voting Military Executive and Senior Enlisted representative, a member or former member of each of the seven reserve components of the armed forces, and ten U.S. citizens with significant knowledge and experience in national security and reserve component matters. Board members represent a wide range of industry, business, professional, and civic experience, in addition to their military expertise, which combined provide the Secretary of Defense with a unique and independent body of senior officials to review and comment on Reserve component programs and policies.

Deputy Secretary Hicks' full comments are available here.