Sunday March 07, 2021
Senate confirms Austin as 1st African American defense secretary
Published : 22 Jan 2021, 23:49
The U.S. Senate on Friday approved retired Army General Lloyd Austin, President Joe Biden's nominee, to serve as the nation's first African American Secretary of Defense, reported Xinhua.
The Senate confirmed Austin, aged 67, in a 93-2 vote. The only no votes came from two Republican senators.
"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as our country's 28th Secretary of Defense, and I'm especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position," Austin tweeted after he was confirmed.
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.
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 degree in education from Auburn University, and his master's degree in business administration from Webster University.
Congress passed a waiver on Thursday 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.