Retired four-star Army general Lloyd J Austin has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to head the Pentagon.
According to 4 persons familiar with the decision, President-elect Joe Biden has nominated General Lloyd J Austin, retired four-star army general, to become Defense Secretary heading the Pentagon.
- Austin, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first Black Pentagon leader.
- From the beginning to the end Austin was involved in the Iraq war.
- When Austin retired in 2016, Obama praised his “character and talent” and his leadership.
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The retired four-star Army General Lloyd J. Austin will be nominated by President-elect Joe Biden as defence secretary heading the Pentagon, according to four familiar persons.
General Lloyd J. Austin, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first Black Pentagon leader.
Biden has chosen Austin as the longest-running front-runner candidate, and former senior Pentagon official and Biden supporter Michael Flournoy will be the first woman to serve as Secretary of Defense.
Biden also considered J. Johnson, a former Pentagon general adviser and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
Austin’s upcoming nomination was confirmed by four people who spoke to the Associated Press anonymously because the selection had not been formally announced.
Biden presented and Austin accepted the post on Sunday, says someone familiar with the process.
As a professional military officer, the 67-year-old Austin is likely to face opposition from some in the security establishment who believe in drawing a clear line between Congress and the Pentagon’s civil and military leadership.
Although many previous defence secretaries served briefly in the military, George C. Marshall and James Mattis were the only two industry executives.
Austin retired from the Army in 2016, and Congress should waive the legal requirement that a former member of the Army must retire from uniform at least seven years before serving as Secretary of Defense.
That rebate has only been granted twice – most recently in the case of Mattis, a retired Marine general who served as President Donald Trump’s first Pentagon chief.
Some now see Mattis at the Pentagon as proof why a retired military officer could serve only in rare exceptions as the defence secretary.
Although Mattis is widely regarded for his military prowess and intelligence, critics say he surrounded himself with military officers at the expense of a broader civilian perspective.
In December 2018, he resigned in protest of the policies of Trump.
Loren DeJonge Schulman, who has spent 10 years in senior positions at the Pentagon and the National Security Council, said she understands why Biden is looking for candidates with a deeper understanding of the military.
However, she worries that the appointment of a general to a political role will prolong some of the damage caused by the politicization of Trump’s military.
“But retired generals are not an alternative to public leaders,” he said.
Austin is known for his strong leadership, honesty and sharp wit.
He will not be a model defence secretary, not only because of his 41-year military career but because he has strayed from public view.
It is a shortcoming to say that he is a quiet general. Although he testified before Congress, he gave some interviews and did not want to speak publicly about military operations.
He received praise from the Obama administration for his work in Iraq and the Central Command, although he did not accept Obama’s decision in December 2011 to leave Iraq altogether.
From the beginning to the end, Austin was involved in the Iraq war.
During the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 , he served as
The assistant commander of the Third Infantry Division, overseeing the withdrawal in 2011.
When Austin retired in 2016, Obama praised his “character and talent” and his judgment and leadership.
Someone familiar with the matter said Biden was inspired by Austin’s oversight of the Iraq eviction, especially given the military’s upcoming role in supporting the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.