Updated: February 25, 2021
U.S. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday nominated retired four-star General Lloyd J. Austin III to serve as the 28th United States Secretary of Defense. If confirmed, Austin will be the first African American ever to hold the position.
With a distinguished record of military service spanning four decades, Secretary-designate Austin is a deeply experienced and highly decorated commander who has served with distinction in several of the Pentagon’s most crucial positions.
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An accomplished, respected, and trailblazing figure in U.S. military history, Secretary-designate Austin retired from the Army in 2016 following more than 40 years of service in America’s defense.
The first African American to serve as Commander of U.S. Central Command, he is a trusted and crisis-tested leader who has overseen some of the most complex and impactful operations in the history of the armed services — including serving as the chief architect of the effort to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and working closely with President-elect Biden to bring nearly 150,000 American military personnel home from Iraq.
If confirmed, he will be tasked with implementing the military and defense priorities of the president-elect, including keeping the nation safe and secure, playing a key role in executing the logistics associated with COVID-19 vaccine distribution; restoring America’s alliances; supporting and equipping servicemembers and caring for them and their families; addressing the accelerating security threat posed by the climate crisis; and modernizing America’s armed forces and preparing for the conflicts of the future.
“General Austin shares my profound belief that our nation is at its strongest when we lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” said President-elect Joe Biden.
“Throughout his lifetime of dedicated service — and in the many hours we’ve spent together in the White House Situation Room and with our troops overseas — General Austin has demonstrated exemplary leadership, character, and command. He is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges and crises we face in the current moment, and I look forward to once again working closely with him as a trusted partner to lead our military with dignity and resolve, revitalize our alliances in the face of global threats, and ensure the safety and security of the American people.”
According to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Austin is “a seasoned, highly decorated, and trailblazing commander.”
She said General Lloyd Austin “reflects the very best of our nation. General Austin will modernize our Armed Forces and make sure the United States is prepared to overcome the new threats and new challenges of the future.”
“And President-elect Biden and I will work closely with him — and our entire national security and foreign policy team — to keep the American people safe, support our troops and their families, and rebuild and renew global partnerships and alliances.”
Read the full White House announcement below
General Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense
General Lloyd Austin was the 12th Commander of the U.S. Central Command, retiring as a four-star general in 2016 after more than 40 years of military service. As Combined Forces Commander, General Austin led the design and execution of the military campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. 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.
At the Pentagon, General Austin has served as Chief of the Joint Operations, J-3, Joint Staff, and as Director of the Joint Staff. He has commanded troops in combat at each of the one-, two-, three-, and four-star levels, and became the 200th person in history to ascend to the Army’s top rank of four-star general — the sixth African American to do so — in 2010. In addition, he was the first African American general officer to command a U.S. Army Division in combat, to lead a Corps in combat, to command an entire theater of war, to serve as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and to serve as Commander of U.S. Central Command. His awards include the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Service Medals, and five Defense Distinguished Service Medals. Born in Alabama and raised in Georgia, General Austin received his bachelor of science degree from West Point, his masters in education from Auburn University, and his masters in business administration from Webster University.