US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday confirmed his choice of retired General Lloyd Austin to head the US Department of Defense. He will become, if confirmed by the Senate, the first African-American leader of the Pentagon. Lloyd Austin, 67, “is uniquely qualified to tackle the challenges and crises we face now,” the Democrat wrote in a statement.
“General Austin shares my deep conviction that our country is stronger when it leads not only by the example of our power but also by the power of our example,” added Joe Biden.
“A brilliant and respected personality, a pioneer in the history of the United States Army, Minister-designate Austin retired from the military in 2016 after more than 40 years of service in the defense of America,” said Minister-designate Austin. communicated.
Several American media announced Monday evening that Joe Biden had finally decided on this retired Army general, who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming the first man of color to head the central command of the United States Army (Centcom).
Joe Biden, who will take office on January 20, had worked with him especially when, as vice-president, he oversaw the implementation of Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw 50,000 American troops from Iraq in 2011.
If approved by the Senate, the ex-general will be the first African-American to lead the world’s first army, in which the black population is heavily represented.
But his confirmation is not certain: elected representatives of Congress and national security experts have spoken out against his appointment, noting that his retirement was less than 7 years old.
The US Congress, which maintains civilian control over the military, has adopted a rule stipulating that a former military must be retired for more than 7 years to become Minister of Defense.
As this deadline would not be respected with Lloyd Austin, the elected officials should grant him a dispensation. They had done it in 2016 for Jim Mattis, but in protest.