Gen. Lloyd Austin confirmed as secretary of Defense with Shelby’s, Tuberville’s support
U.S. Army General Lloyd J. Austin (Ret.) on Friday was confirmed in a bipartisan 93-2 vote by the United States Senate as the next secretary of the Department of Defense.
Austin, who is a native of Mobile and currently serves on the Auburn University board of trustees, becomes the first black defense secretary in American history. He was nominated by President Joe Biden for the post.
U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) voted to support Austin’s confirmation.
Tuberville said in a statement, “Retired General Lloyd Austin is a son of the great state of Alabama – born in Mobile and an Auburn University alumnus and Trustee – who understands the critical role our state’s five military bases play in supporting America’s armed forces. General Austin’s decades of service make him well-positioned to lead the Department of Defense and confront the threats facing our country. I look forward to working with him for the benefit of Alabamians, Americans, and all of our men and women in uniform to advance the safety and security of our great nation.”
The Senate vote came after both chambers of Congress the prior day granted him a waiver to the law requiring that the secretary of Defense either be a civilian or someone who has been retired from the military for seven or more years.
After a nearly 41-year decorated military career, Austin retired in 2016 as a four-star general. Some of his former posts include service as the commander of U.S. Central Command, commander of the Combined Forces in Iraq and Syria, and as the 33rd vice chief of staff of the Army.
Austin is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds master’s degrees from Auburn and Webster University. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Auburn, and his wife, Charlene, is also an Auburn graduate.
Alabama is so proud, sir! Congrats! https://t.co/1dlPvDZD0U
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) January 22, 2021
UPDATE 11:30 a.m.
In a tweet, Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), who represents Auburn in the U.S. House of Representatives, applauded the confirmation. Rogers is ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“Congratulations to General Austin on his historic confirmation. I appreciate his longstanding commitment to our military, and I look forward to working with him to provide our men and women in uniform all the resources they need to successfully defend our nation,” said Rogers.
Today I voted to confirm Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin as our next @SecDef. A native of Mobile & @AuburnU grad, Gen. Austin is eminently qualified to lead the Pentagon. I look forward to working with him to ensure our military remains the most powerful force in the world. @DeptofDefense
— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) January 22, 2021
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn