Lloyd Austin, Nominee for Secretary of Defense

Lloyd Austin

Nominee for Secretary of Defense

Lloyd James Austin III was born in August 1953 in Mobile, Alabama. He earned an undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later earned an MA in counselor education from Auburn University’s College of Education. He received an MBA in business management from Webster University and is a graduate of many military-provided educational opportunities.

His military career is long and distinguished, beginning with being an infantry officer after graduating from West Point, being part of a parachute regiment, serving in the 10th Mountain Division, and in several Airborne groups. He served in the multi-national corps in the Iraq war and was deployed to Afghanistan.

In 2010, Austin became Commanding General of United States Forces Iraq and oversaw the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom and combat operations to Operation New Dawn and stability operations focused on advising, assisting, and training the Iraqi Security Forces. He became vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army in 2012 and a year later was installed as the commander of United States Central Command.

He retired from the military in April 2016, after which he joined the board of Raytheon Technologies, a military contractor.

While still president-elect, Joe Biden nominated Austin to be his Secretary of Defense. He has requested a congressional waiver of the National Security Act of 1947 to bypass the seven-year waiting period after leaving active-duty military in order to be appointed as Secretary of Defense.

He is married to Charlene Denise Banner Austin. He has two stepsons. He is a Catholic.

In the News…

Retired four-star general Lloyd Austin, President Biden’s nominee to be the next Defense Secretary, has pledged to invigorate the principle of civilian control of the military.

He said he will also recuse himself from matters involving defense contractor Raytheon Technologies, where he was a board member. He vowed to quickly review the Pentagon’s pandemic relief efforts and to combat extremism in the ranks.

His retirement from the military in 2016 requires a waiver exempting him from rules that mandate military officers must be retired for at least seven years before serving in such a capacity.

Austin acknowledged “reservations” lawmakers have expressed about his appointment, but argued his career in uniform was committed to the principle of civilian control and said he views a Cabinet post as inherently different from his duties as a military commander.

“The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces, the subordination of military power to the civil,” Austin told the committee. “I know that being a member of the president’s Cabinet — a political appointee — requires a different perspective and unique duties from a career in uniform.”


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