Lloyd Austin Confirmed As 1st African American Defense Secretary

General Lloyd Austin
Retired 4-star General Lloyd Austin (image – public domain)

Retired four-star Army General Lloyd J. Austin III became the first Black defense secretary in the history of the nation following an overwhelming confirmation vote of 93 to 2 in the Senate.

Austin was sworn in as Defense Secretary shortly after the Senate approved his nomination. Congress had to first grant him a waiver from a law restricting those who are retired from military service fewer than seven years from leading the Pentagon.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Austin, 67, was the only African-American to have led the United States Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.

His most immediate agenda will include issues that have vexed administrations for a generation, and some newly on the rise. It includes an increasingly muscular China, an aggressive Russia, the protracted conflict in Afghanistan and a vague and looming threat of Iran made evident at the end of the Trump administration.