Joe Biden is keeping his promise by putting together the most diverse cabinet in American history. He plans to name a four star black general to lead the Pentagon.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III during a Senate hearing on military operations to counter the Islamic State.
Presidential Transition – December 7, 2020
TrueNewsBlog -TNB Staff-
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to nominate retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a former commander of the American military effort in Iraq, to be the next secretary of defense, according to two people with knowledge of the selection.
If confirmed by the Senate, General Austin would make history as the first African-American to lead the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and the enormous bureaucracy that backs them up.
General Austin, 67, was for years a formidable figure at the Pentagon, and is the only African-American to have headed U.S. Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria — most of the places where the United States is at war.
General Austin is known as a battlefield commander who has shown flashes of tactical brilliance. But he is less known for his political instincts, and he has sometimes stumbled in congressional hearings, including a session in 2015 when he acknowledged, under testy questioning, that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters had gone nowhere.
Still, General Austin, who retired as a four-star general in 2016 after 41 years in the military, is revered in the Army, especially among African-American officers and enlisted soldiers, as one of the rare Black men to crack the glass ceiling that has kept the upper ranks of the military largely the domain of white men.
That General Austin broke through that barrier is thanks to both his intellect, which Pentagon colleagues say is formidable, and the mentorship of a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who plucked him to run the staff of the Joint Chiefs’ office.
Shortly after the election, General Austin took part in an online session that Mr. Biden had with former national security officials. His selection was reported earlier by Politico.
In choosing General Austin, Mr. Biden bypassed Michèle A. Flournoy, a former top Obama administration Defense Department official, who would have been the first woman in the job.
Like Jim Mattis, who was President Trump’s first defense secretary, General Austin would have to get a congressional waiver to serve, since he has been out of the military for only four years and American law requires a seven-year waiting period between active duty and becoming Pentagon chief.
General Austin is a graduate of the United States Military Academy. He and his wife, Charlene, have been married for 40 years.(NYT).