Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was in the area on Wednesday for a tour of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, followed by a visit to the Pease Air National Guard Base.

Hicks is the 35th deputy secretary of defense. She was sworn in on Feb. 9, 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Hicks served as senior vice president and director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies prior to taking on this role. She has also served in varying leadership roles within DOD, including principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, according to the website.

Hicks was joined by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Maggie Hassan, D-NH.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, was also at the Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

At the Shipyard, Hicks and the senators discussed New Hampshire’s role in supporting the country's security. There were updates on the status of ongoing projects, including the construction of the superflood basin and the Paint, Blast and Rubber Facility.

Hicks also toured a submarine.

Later at Pease, they received a briefing on the KC-46A tankers and the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

“New Hampshire has long played a critical role in support of our national defense, so I was glad to welcome Deputy Secretary Hicks to New Hampshire to see that important work up-close,” Shaheen said in a statement. “From maintaining our submarines at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to serving as a KC-46 main operating base at Pease, our shipyard workers and service members are hard at work in support of our national security at home and abroad."

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Shaheen said that as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, bolstering the state’s capabilities to safeguard the country's defense priorities will continue to be top of mind, especially as the Senate Armed Services Committee gets to work on the annual defense bill at the end of the month.

Hassan said that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base continue to be models of excellence.

“I am really grateful for the resilience that all who serve at the Shipyard and Pease have shown throughout the pandemic. Even during the toughest months of the pandemic, they never lost sight of their shared mission of keeping America safe, secure, and free. I was glad to join Deputy Secretary Hicks to show her the vital work being done in New Hampshire to strengthen our national security, and I will keep working to ensure that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base have the support that they need,” Hassan said in a statement.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at


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