Washington: President-elect Joe Biden will nominate retired four-star Army Admiral Lloyd Austin J. to be Secretary of Defense. According to four people familiar with the decision. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin will become the first black leader of the Pentagon.
Biden chose Austin as the candidate for the long-term campaign. Former senior Pentagon official and Biden supporter Michele Flournoy, she would have been the first Women serving as defense ministers. Biden also considered Jason Johnson, former Pentagon General Counsel and Secretary of Homeland Defense.
The upcoming Austin nomination was confirmed by four people familiar with the matter, who spoke with the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the choice has not yet been officially announced. A person familiar with the matter said that Biden made this request and Austin accepted the position on Sunday.
As a professional military officer, the 67-year-old Austin is likely to be opposed by some in Congress and the defense department. They believe that a clear line should be drawn between the civilian and military leadership of the Pentagon. Although many former defense ministers served briefly in the military, only two George Marshall and James Mattis were professional officers. Marshall also served as Secretary of State.
Like Mattis, Austin needs an exemption from Congress to serve as secretary of defense. When Congress established the post of Secretary of Defense in 1947 and barred newly retired officers from holding the post, it intended to exercise civilian control of the military.
A person who confirmed the draft said that Austin’s choice was about selecting the most suitable person, but he acknowledged that pressure has increased the ability to nominate candidates and that Austin’s stock has risen in recent days.
Austin graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point (US Military Academy) in 1975 and served 41 years.
Biden has known Austin at least during the years when the general led the US and coalition forces in Iraq, and Biden was the vice president. Austin was in the multinational force, the commander of Baghdad, Iraq. In 2008, when Obama was elected president, he returned to lead the US forces from 2010 to 2011.
Among his extensive military missions in Austin, from 2009 to 2010, he served as the Joint Chief of Staff during Admiral Mike Mullen’s chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen is full of praise for Austin.
56. “President-elect Biden digs into his work, and Lloyd will defend the superb secretary,” Mullen said in a statement late in the evening. “He has a direct understanding of the complex tasks that our men and women undertake in unified behavior around the world. He attaches great importance to alliances and partnerships. He respects the need for a strong and healthy military-civilian relationship. He leads with tolerance, calmness and confidence. “
Austin also served as the army’s first black chief of staff in 2012, which ranks second. A year later, he took over as the commander of the U.S. Central Command, where he formulated and began to implement a U.S. military strategy to dismantle Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Austin retired from the Army in 2016, and he will need Congress to exempt the legal requirement that a former soldier must be out of uniform for at least seven years before serving as Secretary of Defense. This exemption has only been approved twice, the most recent being the retired Admiral Mattis, who served as President Donald Trump’s first head of the Pentagon.
The Matisse era of the Pentagon is now viewed by some as evidence of why recently retired military officers should only serve as Secretary of Defense in rare cases. Although Matisse is still widely respected for his military talent and intelligence, critics say that he tends to surround himself with officers at the expense of a wider civilian vision. He resigned in December 2018 to protest Trump’s policies.