The president-elect of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden, plans nominate General Lloyd J. Austin III as Secretary of Defense, who was head of the Central Command before retiring, US media reported on Monday.
If confirmed by the Senate, Austin will become the first African American in commanding the Pentagon.
Austin, 67, was the head of Central Command, in charge of the operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, most of the countries in which the United States is at war.
The general held that position between 2013 and 2016, when He retired from the Army to join the private sector.
Austin will require an exemption -In addition to the confirmation- of Congress to be appointed as head of the Pentagon, since the law establishes a period of seven years from his retirement to take office, and only four have passed.
It’s a similar situation to what General James Mattis, the first Secretary of Defense to outgoing President Donald Trump, encountered in 2017.
The then Democratic opposition in Congress was criticism of the appointment by requiring that exemption.
Austin was one of three sounding candidates for the job alongside former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, also African American, and perhaps the favorite, the Pentagon official. Michèle A. Flournoy.
Flournoy was an undersecretary of defense under Barack Obama and also sounded like the most well-positioned candidate to run the Pentagon in a hypothetical victory for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Austin has had a long career at the Pentagone and is one of the few who has managed to break the glass ceiling of the military dome for African Americans, which has made him a role model for black soldiers.
In 2015, Austin fared badly from a Congressional hearing in which he admitted that the Pentagon had spent $ 500 million on a program to training Syrian opposition fighters was practically useless.
Upon retiring from active duty, Austin joined the boards of Raytheon Technologies, one of the Pentagon’s biggest contractors; Nucor, the largest steel producer in the United States, and Tenet medical insurer.
Biden follows thus completing his Cabinet after the appointments of Janet Yellen for the Treasury, Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas as head of National Security or Xavier Becerra for Health.