Biden Selects Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin To Be Secretary Of Defense

Sources familiar with the decision told CNN on Monday (December 7) President-elect Joe Biden called retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin over the weekend to offer him the Secretary of Defense position. 

If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would become the first African American to head up the Pentagon. 

Sources told the news outlet that Biden will most likely announce the pick during his conference on Tuesday (December 8) afternoon. Though the Biden Transition Team declined to comment on the decision to the news outlet.

Austin, a native of Mobile, Alabama and graduate of West Point, has a long working history with Biden stemming back to his years as vice president. Austin served as chief of staff of the Army and a commanding general of US armed forces in Iraq. 

The Secretary of Defense is responsible for leading the Pentagon, the largest government agency in the nation, commanding troops on a global scale, and navigating the complex internal structure of the Pentagon. 

Prominent members of the Democratic party, including House Armed Services Committee Rep. Adam Smith suggested Michele Flournoy was better suited for the role. A pick for her would have been historic as well, as she would be the first woman to lead the Pentagon.

“I certainly communicated to the Biden people that I think Michele Flournoy is hands down the best qualified person for the job,” Smith said to reporters, “That does not mean that she’s the only person that could do the job.” 

The list of contenders for the job also included former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson who served with Flournoy during Barack Obama’s first term as president. 

Former president Obama told in 2016, “General Austin’s character and competence exemplify what America demands of its military leaders.”  

Photo: Getty Images 

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