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Secretary of Defense – confirmation needed

Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 8, 2021 0 comments

On December 8, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.

If confirmed, Austin will be the first African American secretary of defense.

The position: Advises the president on national defense and oversees the U.S. military.

Lloyd James Austin III was born in 1953, in Mobile, Alabama, and raised in Thomasville, Georgia.He graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1975.

He later earned a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Auburn University’s College of Education in 1986, and a Master of Business Administration in business management from Webster University in 1989.

He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Army War College.He served as Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver (ADC-M), 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia.

As the ADC-M, he helped lead the division’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Austin was awarded a Silver Star for his actions as commander during the invasion.

In February 2008, Austin became the second highest-ranking commander in Iraq, taking command of the Multi-National Corps – Iraq (MNC-I). As commander of MNC-I, he directed the operations of approximately 152,000 joint and coalition forces in all sectors of Iraq.Austin handed over command of XVIII Corps to become Director of the Joint Staff in August 2009.

Austin was the 33rd vice chief of staff of the United States Army from January 2012 to March 2013, and the last commanding general of United States Forces – Iraq Operation New Dawn, which ended in December 2011.

In 2012, Austin became Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA). As VCSA, he managed the day-to-day administration of the Army’s budget and headquarters staff. Under his direction, the Army took steps to reduce the incidence of suicide in the ranks. He also supervised a review of the psychiatric treatment of personnel assessed for disability by the Army.

From 2013 to 2016, Austin served as the 12th commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM), the first black commander of CENTCOM.

He retired from the armed services in 2016 and subsequently served on the boards of Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare.

He also operates a consulting firm and has been a partner at Pine Island Capital, an investment company with which Michèle Flournoy and fellow Biden nominee Antony Blinken are affiliated.

Austin, who retired from the Army in 2016, needs a waiver from Congress exempting him from a law that requires the Defense secretary to be out of the military for at least seven years.

Biden has urged Congress to grant him the waiver, despite concerns from Democrats and some Republicans about preserving civilian control of the military.

With less than two weeks before President-elect Biden assumes office, Lloyd Austin for Secretary of Defense is the only confirmation hearing scheduled by the Senate.

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