Auburn trustee, Mobile native named Biden’s secretary of Defense
U.S. Army General Lloyd J. Austin (Ret.) has been selected to lead the Department of Defense under a Biden administration, according to Politico.
The report, which has been corroborated by separate reporting from Jake Tapper, says presumed President-elect Joe Biden will make the announcement as soon as Tuesday that Austin will be nominated to serve as secretary of Defense.
Yellowhammer News previously outlined Austin’s deep Alabama ties when it was first reported he had become a late addition to Biden’s shortlist for the important post.
Austin currently serves on the Auburn University board of trustees and was born in Mobile, Alabama.
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.
Austin would be the first Black DoD secretary in American history.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m. 12/8/2020
Wayne Smith, president pro tem of the Auburn University board of trustees, released a statement, saying, “Gen. Austin epitomizes the best Auburn has to offer in character, public service and real-world expertise.”
“If he is ultimately selected and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, I’m confident he will again serve our nation with great distinction,” Smith concluded.
UPDATE 2:55 p.m.
Biden has announced Austin as his selection for Defense secretary. Austin will need to receive a congressional waiver to accept the civilian post; he will also need to be confirmed by the Senate in an up-or-down vote.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn