Biden introduces Gen. Lloyd Austin as his pick to run Department of Defense

Lloyd Austin III
Posted at 5:17 PM, Dec 07, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden named former General Lloyd J. Austin as his nominee for secretary of defense on Wednesday.

If confirmed, Austin would become the first Black person to lead the Pentagon.

At a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, Biden introduced Austin as a man who is "breaking down barriers and blazing a trail," adding that he is "going to do it again" if confirmed.

Biden called for Austin to be confirmed "swiftly," adding that the country "needs his expertise."

"It will be my sincere honor and privilege to return to the department and to lead our great service members and civilians in accomplishing the mission of ensuring our nation's security," Austin said Wednesday.

He also added that he would give Biden clear and "unvarnished council" when it comes to military matters.
Austin also said that he had benefitted greatly from leadership above him throughout his career, citing the influence of former Sec. of State Colin Powell, among others.

In addition to needing Senate confirmation, Austin will also need a waiver, as there is seven-year waiting period after leaving the military in order to become defense secretary. Some Senate Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have signaled that they are hesitant to grant Austin a waiver.

"I would not be asking for this exception if I didn't think this moment in history called for it," Biden said.
President Donald Trump's first defense secretary, James Mattis, also required such a waiver upon his nomination.

Austin, a former four-star general, was the 12th head of Central Command from 2013 through 2016 under President Barack Obama.

Austin followed Mattis in leading Central Command. He also served as the vice chief of staff of the Army.