Lloyd Austin, a former US general, has been approved as the country’s secretary of defense, becoming new President Joe Biden’s second cabinet pick to receive approval and the first African American to lead the Pentagon.
In a near-unanimous 93-2 vote in Austin’s favor, the Senate approved on Friday President Biden’s nomination for Pentagon leader.
While his nomination was complicated by his status as a recently retired general, the retired four-star general received overwhelming support from both Biden’s Democrats and opposition Republicans and required a waiver of a legal ban on a military officer serving as defense secretary within seven years of retirement.
On Thursday, the waiver was approved by the House and the Senate, paving the way for the Senate confirmation vote.
Austin, 67, said during his congressional testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, “The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces. The subordination of military power to the civil,”
In 2016, Austin retired after serving as the first black general to lead the U.S. Command of the Central. In 2012, he was the Army’s first Black vice chief of staff and also served as the Joint Staff manager.