December 8, 2020 7:52 AM | With information from EFE
15 minutes. The president-elect of the United States (USA), Democrat Joe Biden, plans to nominate the retired general, Lloyd J. Austin III, as secretary of defense and highest authority of the Pentagon, US media reported on Monday.
If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would become the first African American to command the Pentagon.
67-year-old general was head of the Central Command in charge of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria, most of the countries in which the US is at war.
Austin held that position between 2013 and 2016, when left the Army to join the private sector.
Will require an exemption – in addition to confirmation – of Congress to be appointed as head of the Pentagon of Biden. The law establishes a term of 7 years from their retirement to access the position. Only 4 have passed.
It’s a situation similar to the one encountered in 2017 by General James Mattis, the President’s first Secretary of Defense, Donald Trump.
The then Democratic opposition in Congress was critical of the appointment for requiring such an exemption.
Austin was one of the 3 candidates that sounded for the position alongside former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, also African American; And maybe the favorite, the Pentagon official, Michèle A. Flournoy.
Flournoy was undersecretary of defense during Barack Obama’s presidency and also sounded like the most well-positioned candidate to run the Pentagon, in a hypothetical victory for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden’s candidate had a long career at the Pentagon. He is one of the few that 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, he fared badly from a Congressional hearing in which admitted that the Pentagon had spent $ 500 million on a program to train Syrian opposition fighters that was practically useless.
Upon retiring from active duty, Austin joined the boards of Raytheon Technologies, one of the Pentagon’s largest contractors; Nucor, the largest steel producer in the US; and the medical insurer, Tenet.
Biden continues to complete his Cabinet after the appointments of Janet Yellen to the Treasury, Antony Blinken as Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas as Head of National Security and Xavier Becerra for Health.