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Joe Biden chooses Lloyd Austin, a black ex-general, to lead the Pentagon

He would become, if confirmed by the Senate, the first African-American leader of the Pentagon. The 67-year-old retired Army General fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming the first colored man to lead the US Army Central Command (Centcom).

Joe Biden could officially reveal his name on Tuesday, said Politico, the first media to reveal this choice. The New York Times, CNN and the ABC channel then confirmed this information. Joe Biden’s team was silent on Monday night.

If approved by the Senate, the ex-general would be the first African American to lead the world’s first army, in which the black community is heavily represented.

The former head of Centcom – the body overseeing wars in the Middle East – would thus have been preferred to Michèle Flournoy, who could have become the first woman to lead the Pentagon.

Lloyd Austin took over as head of Centcom from Jim Mattis, who served as Donald Trump’s defense minister from 2017 to 2019.

He retired in 2016, before moving to the defense industry, like many of his predecessors. He sits on the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies. This position has earned him criticism from some progressives. Elected officials of Congress and national security experts also spoke 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 Mr. Mattis, but in protest.

Joe Biden, who will take office on January 20 at the White House, told reporters Monday that he would unveil his choice on Friday for his future Pentagon chief.

Joe Biden, 78, and future vice president Kamala Harris, 56, the first black woman and first person to hold the office, have pledged a government that “looks like America” ​​in all its diversity.

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