On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden announced his choice of retired Army General Lloyd Austin to serve as the next Secretary of Defense. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black American to hold the position. This announcement comes as the Biden team continue to prepare for the Oval Office, and as the Trump administration continues its legal challenges of Biden’s projected victory.
Austin will need to secure a waiver from Congress in order to serve as Defense Secretary, as he retired from active duty only four years ago. The law requires that a service member be off of active duty for at least seven years before assuming such a position within the Pentagon. Retired Marine General James Mattis was also able to secure such a waiver upon his appointment by President Trump.
Being confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Secretary of Defense would mark yet another history-making achievement for retired General Lloyd Austin. Austin was also the first Black Commander of CENTCOM, as well as the first Black Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army.
Biden has worked with the respected general before, most notably while Austin commanded CENTCOM during the Obama administration, in which the general supervised the drawdown in Iraq. Austin has extensive experience within the U.S. Army, having led every Army formation from platoon-sized elements to a full combatant command, according to a CENTCOM press release. As a brigadier general deployed to Iraq in 2003, Austin was heralded as a Soldier’s Soldier, famously carrying an M4 service rifle instead of the traditional general’s service weapon, a pistol.
“Austin carried an M4 carbine and a full ammo load. He is a big man, and the carbine looked like a peashooter in his hands. But the troops loved that he carried it, and he obviously knew how to use it.”CENTCOM Press Release
Related: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHRISTOPHER C. MILLER, THE NEW ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Early life and military experience
Born in Mobile, Alabama, on August 8, 1953, Austin grew up as an exceptional student and athlete. Upon graduating high school, the future general was offered an academic scholarship to attend Notre Dame University but opted for West Point Military Academy instead, at his father’s behest. During his tenure at West Point, Austin played rugby and was a member of the track team.
He graduated from West Point in 1975 and began his military career as a platoon leader for the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. As his career progressed, Austin returned to school, earning a master’s degree in counselor education at Auburn University and earning another in business management at Webster University.
In 2003, Lloyd Austin deployed to Iraq as the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum in New York. Before departing that command, he would also deploy to Afghanistan. From there, he moved on to serve as the Chief of Staff for CENTCOM in 2005.
In 2008 and 2009, Austin served as the Commander of Multi-National Corps in Iraq, before becoming Commanding General of all U.S. forces within the nation in 2010. It was in this role that Austin oversaw the significant drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq, redeploying nearly 50,000 military personnel back to the United States. It was while serving in this role that President-elect Joe Biden worked with Austin, and he may have been chosen for the role of Defense Secretary specifically because of this feat. With the United States looking for an exit strategy in Afghanistan, Austin’s previous experience in such a quagmire may be of use.
Lloyd Austin briefly served as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, the first Black man to hold the position, before once again making history as the first Black man to command CENTCOM. He continued in that role until his retirement in 2003. His awards upon his separation from active duty include a Silver Star Medal for valor in combat, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with Three Oak Leaf Clusters), and the Legion of Merit.
Potential road blocks to confirmation
While retired General Lloyd Austin is a well-respected commander with a great deal of knowledge about the Pentagon’s inner workings, his confirmation as Secretary of Defense is anything but assured.
Many Democrats have voiced support instead for Michele Flournoy, a well-respected and highly qualified government official that previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy under President Bill Clinton and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under President Barack Obama.
Austin will also face concerns among lawmakers about military officers holding the top position within the Pentagon. Traditionally, the role of Defense Secretary is supposed to be a civilian position, ensuring America’s military apparatus is led not by a warfighter, but a policymaker. That requirement is laid out in the National Security Act of 1947 that established the Defense Department in the first place.
“There shall be a Secretary of Defense, who shall be appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate: PROVIDED, That a person who has within ten years been on active duty as a commissioned officer in a Regular component of the armed services shall not be eligible for appointment as Secretary of Defense.”– Excerpt from the National Security Act of 1947, creating a new Department of Defense.
Austin will need to secure a waiver from Congress in order to fill the role of Defense Secretary, which isn’t without precedent. Nearly four years ago now, President Trump’s pick for the job, famed Marine General James Mattis, received bipartisan support in pursuit of his own such waiver. However, at the time, some lawmakers voiced concern about establishing a precedent in this regard and warned that recently retired military leaders serving as SECDEF should not become the norm.
Further concerning for some is Austin’s previous role as a board director for the major defense contractor Raytheon. Lawmakers have often voiced concerns about Pentagon leaders having ties to the large corporations that supply the U.S. military with its tech and hardware. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who was never formally confirmed for the role, found himself under investigation during his tenure in the Pentagon’s top spot over ties to his former employer, Boeing.
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William Geralds says
There is no doubt that the immigration crisis is being intentionally managed by the democrats and their globalist handlers to destroy America. Look at what has happened in Europe. Is it any wonder that so many women are purchasing firearms? Just think where Constitution and freedom-loving Americans would be without the Second Amendment. All you have to do is look at what is happening in Australia to see what America would be like without the right to own firearms.
The racial violence taking place in American cities, which is promoted and condoned by the left, has gotten to the point that if I saw a male (non-white) person age 15 to 50 walking my way, I would cross the street to avoid them. NOT because I am a racist, but because I no longer feel safe… from attack… because I am a senior-aged handicapped/vet white person. As the saying goes, the best gunfight is the one you don’t have to get into.
While not every illegal immigrant or Afghan refugee is a criminal… Just look at the sex and age of the majority of these people that the Biden administration is letting loose in America. Males 18 to 30. How many of them will actually learn English, and become gainfully employed? This same demographic is responsible for the sexual violence against women and children that have taken place all through Northern/Southern Europe.
The total ineptness of the Biden administration is pathetic. When Donald Trump was president the border was under control, the American economy was booming and record numbers of Americans of ALL RACES were experiencing the economic prosperity brought forth by being employed. Now, look at what Mr. Magoo and the socialists have turned America into. Hey Non-Patriots… NWO trolls, CCP, Democrats/RINOs, Obama, Holder, Rice, Sunstein, Pelosi, Schummer, Austin, Milley, Soros… F**K YOU AND… “The horse you rode in on… Joe Biden”…Hell is Coming!
Ken Bishop says
General Officers in large part serve silent, don’t rock the boat, go along with the status quo to avoid political suicide by defying politicians. Will be interesting to see how a token Secretary of State handles the Administration and how much non compliant push back is exercised. Soldiers first! That is the priority. Politicians don’t factor into the equation. We’ll see Lloyd Austin’s metal and does loyalty lie with service members or politicians.
Patrick S Maio says
That’s mettle, not metal. Just a friendly note.
HD James says
I was the First Sergeant of HHC, 2nd Bn. 22nd Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division in 89. I got to know Major Lloyd Austin as our Battalion S-3. There is not a thing false, or phony about this man. He is a complete professional and I knew he was destined to go far in the army, and he did. He was also a soldiers officer throughout his career. He set the example for his soldiers and took care of them. He led from front. He will make a great SECDEF and this is no doubt not his last position in the leadership hierarchy within our government. I wouldn’t think twice about voting for this man if he ran for president. He is a solid leader with honorable character and unquestionable integrity. It’s men like him that this country desperately need in the Oval Office. No nonsense, no games, no distractive skeletons in his closet, just exceptional solid leadership talent and the ability to truly unite our United States Of America, which is the way our nation should be. To The Honorable Lloyd Austin, I salute you, Sir! HOOAH!
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That’s why he’s pushing forward with woman in combat. Pregnant female s allowed to fly our combat aircraft. Allowing transgender serving and the defense dept paying for gender correction operations if that’s not enough to make you question what happened to officer you once knew then God help you
IT’S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU PUKE YOUR GUTS. PREGNANT FEMALES IN HIGH “G” SUITES IN AIR COMBAT??? TANKS WITH PORTABLE POTTIES DRUG BEHIND??? COME ON I CANNOT SEE A WOMAN IN COMBAT TAKING A CRAP IN A FOXHOLE WITH ANOTHER GI IN THERE. DESERTS DO NOT HAVE MANY TREES AND MOST BUSHES HIDE POISONOUS SNAKES.
Stanley, a lifetime of service and leadership, competence, attention to detail, worth of example, dignified simplistic approach all create the quality of the man. Try removing race, organize the resumes of all considered to a timeline to create context and try finding a more qualified person. That’s what I did, because as a former Navy Pilot who’s missions all accounted for the potential to launch nuclear weapons, competence was important. Then I added back the potential issues that he had to have faced along this journey as a person of color. These postings reflect much of the private animosity that he had to face along this journey and still he rises. Surly goodness and mercy shall follow him as he continues to serve this great nation and the world.
Cindy Hoskinson says
I would ask you now Sir! If you still feel he’s a soldiers leader considering the complete blunder in Afghanistan. 13 serving soldiers dead! Who knows the total count on innocent civilians. A complete failure and now he circles back on his leadership. This man is now all about politics, not soldiers, perhaps when you served with him he was a different man, but by today’s standards this man is a politician. Its all about money and recognition. He would make no better president than the one currently in office a very sad time for America. Our freedoms are at stake 🇺🇸 🙏 ❤ 🗽 😢
He has the track record of a hero. The comments he made about labeling supporters of Trump, in the military a threat, pretty much sums up my opinion of him, I pray that is not true, if so he is another guy with too much power. You cannot have a democracy without allowing two party opponent parties. By openly refusing a single federal investigation, or court hearing, upset half the nation. God save our republic.
Joe Gillam says
A nice natural non-descript Black man who was unheard of until called up by President Biden. Fits right in with Biden’s rainbow picks. We shall see?
Another token quota represenative “yes boy”. Once again race will be the distraction, social engineering will be the game play, and mass fraud, waste, embezzlement (kick-backs – lobbyist) will be the underlying theme. To make this go many qualified, loyal, principled career officers will be reasigned or retired, much like the obama years. Let history prove me wrong.
I called it early. Wow, Austin not only met but exceeded my low expectations! He just pissed on the grave and spit in the face of every servicemen who went to Afganistan and Iraq. What a complete piece of shit! Austin could care less about the troops or this country, hope you get a book deal general.
Roger Williams says
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He has a Stella military background. President-elect Biden picked the right person for the job.
Col (ret) Rand Harrison says
Austin is a superb pick as SECDEF! How do I know this? I sat next to him at the Army War College, seminar group 18, class of 97, for a year. You really get to know a person in that setting. He was by far the smartest guy I have ever known. Some people seem to think he is an introvert that has no strategic vision. That is unequivocal BS. He was light years ahead in thinking, sometimes I thought he had an ongoing strategic chess match running non stop in his head. This discussion on making a retired military leader wait 7 years is outdated thinking. Select and confirm a person who has depth of knowledge, character, integrity, and willingness to serve our country. I’m not a President Elect Biden fan, but he has it right when he selected Austin. I will support our new president and I sincerely hope congress will also!
Because someone is of “high intellect” and 20 or 30 years ago and showed himself to be a good solider and officer at that point and time does not qualify you to be the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America. And I find it extremely hard to believe you can determine a person’s abilities and moral character by sitting next to them for a few hours at a ‘seminar’ . The proof of an individual’s “mettle” is in their long term performance.
Some of the statements throughout these comments lead me to question his impartiality with regard to political affiliation. Others regarding his dealings with intelligence documents, as well as women in the military, and the results of his withdrawal command in Iraq lead me to question his ability to give credible tactical advice to a president, regarding matters of national security and the wellbeing and development of our military .
He is undoubtedly no slouch or he would not have made it as far as he has. But a wise person once told me, “what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear a word you say”.
As a result, I am very leery of his appointment to this high level position. Especially in light of the results of our “evacuation” from Afghanistan in the last week which has been anything but a tactical success (more like a tactical debacle), resulting in the death of 14 of our service men and the wounding of many more.
Cindy Hoskinson says
Sir, you have one consistent word that applies to the man you are describing. “WAS” he is “now” nothing more than a politician. The blunder in Afghanistan 13 dead soldiers, untold civilians and billions in high tech equipment left is NOT the mark of a great leader, it is a failure in every way. Now our country is under great threat and many of our military secrets are now in the hands of our enemies, this country’s freedom’s are now at stake. He has helped empower our enemies. Sad and scary times are ahead for our country. 🇺🇸 🙏 ❤ 😢 🗽
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WTF, does that have to do with anything?! What does it really matter? He is an American Hero who had served our country with honor and distinction. The fact that he is a Black American ( origin unimportant), demonstrates that he is even more a man of high character . Because I would imagine he was able to overcome many obstacles and still persevere despite those who didn’t him to succeed. Because of the color of his skin. So GTFOH with that BS.
JK Gingery says
Cindy Hoskinson says
I would ask you if it doesn’t matter, then Why is his skin color mentioned so many times in the article? I don’t believe the qualification should be dependent on skin color AT ALL! But the article written sure does! I’ve read several articles on this man and have been unsuccessful in finding info on where he graduated in his class at West Point, makes me wonder, when they’re crystal clear in regards to everything else. By the way the surrender in Afghanistan was a total military blunder! So many dead and left behind along with billions in high tech military equipment and now the enemy know so many of our weapons secrets. This mans decisions have empowered our enemies and put AMERICA’S freedoms at risk! The enemy is wearing OUR SOLDIERS UNIFORMS FOR GOD’S SAKE! What does it take to get a leader for AMERICA in charge. I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN AMERICA FIRST! 🇺🇸 🙏 ❤ 😢 🗽
Nathan C Langston says
What was Loyd Austins class standing at West point?
I said recently, some really strange shit, but as a student he was near top of his academy class. His military record is remarkable too, no one can question his qualification. His comment of searching military for conservatives as threat to our freedom scared the shit out of me, Honestly, only a lunatic might say political opponents are enemies of the administration, we now live under. I do not give a shit if he won the medal of honor, if he opposes a two party system, he does not have a full deck of cards to play with. He should be golfing to keep busy not running the military after active duty retirement.
The same general at US Forces-Iraq whose withdraw plan from Iraq led to the rise of ISIS.
Whose follow-on plan as CENTCOM failed in stopping ISIS (Leaving the job to the Trump Administration to clean up).
Yep, real good choice.
You mean the Lloyd Austin who doctored intel reports under Obama?
The same Gen Austin who fostered a toxic work environment at CENTCOM?
Let us bow our head deep, deeper, no deeper waaaay over and kiss our nations butts good bye. Its people like this that endanger the free world and pander to any freak fringe that will vote to keep the asylum alive and screwing with a Nations chances of survival.
Rome must have had 10 times the amount of appeasers we have to deal with.
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