Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, to be secretary of defense
Borrowed from the WashPost
Austin’s selection will prompt a congressional debate over whether enough lawmakers would support a waiver from a law that mandates any service member must be out of uniform for at least seven years before being eligible to serve as defense secretary. The law is meant to ensure civilian control of the military.
The Trump administration obtained a similar waiver for former defense secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, but it came at a time when many Republicans had taken themselves out of the running for the job by openly criticizing President Trump when he was a presidential candidate.
Biden has had a personal relationship with Austin and even attended the general’s 2010 change-of-command ceremony when Austin took over in Iraq. Biden, whose portfolio as vice president included Iraq, worked with him closely during the Obama administration.
Austin oversaw not only the Islamic State operations but also the withdrawal of U.S. operations in Iraq — a massive logistical undertaking that could be significant as the country endeavors to distribute a coronavirus vaccine, according to the person who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Biden also was impressed by Austin’s barrier-breaking career in the military, which spanned about four decades and included being the first Black officer to command a division and the first Black officer to oversee a theater of war.