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Christine Fox will assume her new role as acting deputy secretary of defense on Thursday—one day after Deputy Secretary Ash Carter officially steps down—making her the highest-ranking woman to ever serve in the Defense Department, according to a Dec. 3 release. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Fox, who recently served as director of cost assessment and program evaluation at the Pentagon, is a “brilliant defense thinker and proven manager,” who was a “key leader” during the Strategic Choices and Management Review. “She will be able to help me shape our priorities from day one because she knows the intricacies of the department’s budget, programs, and global operations better than anyone,” said Hagel. “Our men and women in uniform will have a passionate and thoughtful advocate in Christine Fox. I am grateful that she has agreed to return to the Department of Defense, pending the nomination and confirmation of a permanent successor to Deputy Secretary Carter.” (Hagel statement)(AFPS report)