Biden nominates retired General Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

World Wednesday 09/December/2020 15:56 PM
By: Xinhua
Biden nominates retired General Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he will nominate Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star general, to serve as his defense secretary.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Austin, 67, will be the first African American ever to head the Pentagon.

"He is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges and crises we face in the current moment," Biden said of Austin in a statement.

Austin will be tasked with implementing the Biden administration's military and defense priorities, while playing a role in executing the logistics associated with COVID-19 vaccine distribution, according to the president-elect's team.

Congress has to pass a waiver to allow Austin to take the job as a U.S. law requires Pentagon chiefs to be out of the military for at least seven years.

Former commander of the U.S. Central Command, Austin retired in 2016 after more than 40 years of military service.

As combined forces commander, Austin led the design and execution of the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

While serving as commanding general of United States Forces-Iraq, he was responsible for the Army's largest logistical effort in more than 60 years when he oversaw the transition of U.S. and Coalition military forces and equipment out of Iraq.

Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, Austin received his bachelor of science degree from West Point, his master's in education from Auburn University, and his master's in business administration from Webster University.