Joe Biden picks Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense

Biden picks Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense
Biden will nominate retired four-star Army general Lloyd J. Austin to be secretary of defense. Source: AP Photo
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Daily US Times: President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Lloyd J. Austin, retired four-star Army general, to be secretary of defense, according to several people familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black chief of the Pentagon.

Joe Biden selected Austin over the longtime front-runner candidate, Michele Flournoy, a Biden supporter and former senior Pentagon official who would have been the first woman to serve as defense secretary. The President-elect also had considered Jeh Johnson, a former secretary of homeland defense and former Pentagon general counsel.

The impending nomination of Lloyd Austin was confirmed by four people who have knowledge of the pick who spoke to Associated Press (AP) on condition of anonymity because the selection hadn’t been formally announced. On Sunday, Biden offered and the 67-year-old accepted the post, according to a person familiar with the process.

As a career military officer, Austin is likely to face opposition from some in the defense establishment and in Congress who believe in drawing a clear line between military and civilian leadership of the Pentagon. Although many previous defense secretaries have served briefly in the military, only two — James Mattis and George C. Marshall — have been career officers.

George C. Marshall also served as secretary of state.

Like Mattis, Lloyd Austin would need to obtain a congressional waiver to serve as defense secretary. Congress intended civilian control of the military when it created the position of secretary of defense in 1947 and prohibited a recently retired military officer from holding the position.

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