Biden Picks Retired Gen Lloyd Austin As Defence Secretary: Report
He will be the first Black man to hold this position.
According to reports by US media, a veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the former head of the US Central Command, Lloyd Austin has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden as the US Secretary of Defence. He will be the first African-American to hold this position.
Austin, 67, who is a retired four-star army general beat former under-secretary of defence Michele Flournoy to be Biden’s pick. Although unnamed sources have revealed that Biden’s decision came on Monday, 7 December, Austin would require Senate confirmation to assume the post.
Joe Biden has also reportedly said that he would announce his pick on Friday.
Lloyd Austin graduated from West Point Military Academy and spent four decades in the army - leading platoons, running logistics groups, overseeing recruiting and moving on to do senior Pentagon jobs, NDTV reported.
He has a history of leading conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, he was the assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division marching from Kuwait to Baghdad, during the US invasion of Iraq.
From late 2003 to 2005, he was in Afghanistan commanding the Combined Joint Task Force 180 and was made the commanding general of US forces in Iraq in 2010.
Two years later, Austin was the leader of the US Central Command and was heading all Pentagon operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
A Cause for Debate
Austin’s selection is also likely to prompt a congressional debate over the issue of civilian control over the military. It will see if enough lawmakers support a waiver from a law mandating that a service member must be out of service for at least 7 years before serving as the secretary of defence, The Washington Post reported.
Trump administration had obtained a similar waiver for Jim Mattis, former defence secretary.
Not everyone supports this "violation” of the law, congressman Justin Amash tweeted, “He shouldn't be considered for the same reason that Sec Mattis shouldn't have been.”
(with inputs from NDTV and The Washington Post)
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