The four-star retired general would write history as the first African-American to lead the Pentagon.
WASHINGTON – Joseph R. Biden Jr. Elected President Lloyd J. Austin III, a former general and former commander of the US military operation in Iraq, is expected to be appointed as the next Secretary of Defense, according to two people familiar with the election.
If confirmed by the Senate, General Austin would make history as the first African-American to lead 1. 3 million active soldiers in the country and the vast bureaucracy that supports them.
The 67-year-old Austin general has been an influential figure in the Pentagon for many years and is the only African-American to have led the US military, the military junta, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria – most places where the United States is at war.
General Austin is known as the leader of the battlefield. But he is less known for his political instincts – and has sometimes been interrogated by the parliament, including the parliament in 2015, when he admitted, during a difficult hearing, to the Department of Defense’s $ 500 million plan to train Syrian fighters. lithimnu.
He was elected by another first, Michèle A. Flournoy, who had held political leadership positions in the Pentagon and mentored a generation of women in national security who had pushed for the appointment of the first female Secretary of Defense.
Mr. Biden, who meets with N. A. A. C. P. on Tuesday, faced pressure from congressional black caucuses and other black officials to appoint an African-American to head the Department of Defense or the Department of Justice. But he also ignored Jeh C. Johnson, a former secretary of state for security and former secretary general of the Pentagon, seen by many as a more politically wise choice for the first black person to head the Department of Defense.
It was unclear on Monday night what the scale for General Austin was down. People close to the transition note that during the Obama presidency, Mr. Biden was not happy with the Pentagon’s high profile, with generals like David H. Petraeus, who was granted almost rockstar status, believing that the Pentagon’s President Barack Obama’s growing troops rolling. Afghanistan.
The lower profile of General Austin that people have proposed may be in line with Mr Biden’s hopes for a more subdued Department of Defense.
However, General Austin may face some setbacks from lawmakers who feel strongly about military civilian control, and do not think a retired general can make the transition. Like Jim Mattis, who was President Trump’s first secretary of defense, General Austin should get a resignation from Congress to serve because he only served four years and US law requires a seven-year waiting period between active duty and the Pentagon. Become a leader.