Lloyd Austin Confirmed As Secretary of Defense, Becomes First Black Pentagon Chief – NPR

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin was validated as the next secretary of defense. He is seen above speaking after being chosen by then-President-elect Joe Biden last month.

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Retired U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin was confirmed as the next secretary of defense. He is seen above speaking after being chosen by then-President-elect Joe Biden last month.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has actually been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black secretary of defense in U.S. history. The subordination of military power to the civil,” Austin, 67, said throughout his verification hearing prior to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Austin served more than 40 years in the Army, and headed U.S. Central Command, the Pentagons essential post leading military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. With much of Austins competence focused on nations in which the U.S. is at war, some legislators raised questions about his preparedness to tackle other global risks, in particular from China and Iran. During his confirmation hearing, Austin called it a “important” problem and stated that better screening is required for military employees.

“The security and security of our democracy demands skilled civilian control of our militaries. The subordination of military power to the civil,” Austin, 67, said during his verification hearing prior to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. He also attempted to ease worries of some committee members who raised issues of setting unsafe precedent by enabling two defense secretaries waivers in four years. He promised to surround himself with “experienced, capable civilian leaders” and to work with a chief of personnel who “will not be a military person.” Austin becomes simply the third Pentagon chief to serve after getting a waiver. He joins George Marshall, a retired general of the Army chosen in 1950 by President Harry Truman, and retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, former President Donald Trumps very first defense secretary in 2017. Austin served more than 40 years in the Army, and headed U.S. Central Command, the Pentagons essential post leading military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. He worked as commander of the theater from 2013-2016, making him the very first Black basic to hold the post. With much of Austins proficiency concentrated on nations in which the U.S. is at war, some legislators raised concerns about his readiness to take on other international threats, in particular from China and Iran. “I believe China is … our most significant obstacle going forward,” Austin said Tuesday, while referring to Iran as a “destabilizing force” in the Middle East.

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has actually been validated by the Senate, making him the very first Black secretary of defense in U.S. history. The Senate authorized President Bidens election for Pentagon chief in a near-unanimous 93 to 2 vote. Austins election was authorized despite concerns raised on both sides of the aisle that he hadnt run out uniform for the lawfully mandated seven-year period. The National Security Act of 1947 produced the rule to guarantee civilian control over the military is kept, however also permits a waiver if lawmakers in both your home and the Senate authorize. Those votes too passed in bipartisan fashion, clearing the way for Austins confirmation.

Throughout his confirmation hearing, Austin called it a “vital” issue and stated that much better screening is needed for military employees. He also shared an anecdote with lawmakers about when he was dealing with the 82nd Airborne Division in North Carolina years back. “We awakened one day and discovered that we had extremist aspects in our ranks and they did bad things,” Austin said, without providing information. “The signs for that activity were there all along. We just didnt understand what to search for or what to take notice of.” “But, we found out from that,” he stated.

Another challenge dealing with the new defense secretary are issues of extremism within the ranks of the armed force. Those fears have been heightened given that the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at U.S. Capitol that was set into movement at the urging of former President Trump.

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