Joe Biden to name retired General Lloyd Austin as first African American defence chief
First Published Dec 8, 2020, 8:22 AM IST
United States President-elect Joe Biden is likely to name retired General Lloyd Austin to be his defence secretary.
If selected, General Austin would be the first African-American to lead the Pentagon.
Sixty-seven year old General Austin is the only African-American to have headed U.S. Central Command, which oversees most places where the country is at war like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.
General Austin is a native of Thomasville, Georgia, and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also holds a master’s degree in education from Auburn University and a master’s degree in business management from Webster University.
Long road to the Pentagon
General Austin, retired as a four-star general in 2016 after 41 years in the military, would still need to win a Senate confirmation.
Besides that, media reports say, General Austin would need the Congress to waive a law requiring military officers to be retired for seven years before serving as defence secretary.
There could be some opposition to that considering lawmakers provided an exemption earlier for retired Marine Corps General Jim Mattis, President Donald Trump’s first defence secretary.
Interestingly, General Austin replaced General Mattis at the U.S. Central Command in 2013.
Senators could also press General Austin, who serves on the board of Raytheon Technologies Corp., to recuse himself from decisions involving the company and any other defence firms he may have worked for as owner of Austin Strategy Group LLC, which he founded in 2016.
How many players do you prefer playing with?