U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as Secretary of Defense, retired Army General Lloyd Austin, received Senate approval in a vote conducted this Friday.
The vote was 93-2 in the 100-member chamber, far more than the simple majority needed, confirming Austin as the first Black American in the role.
Members of Congress on Thursday approved a waiver that allowed Austin to lead the Pentagon even though he retired from active service less than seven years ago.
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Former U.S. servicemen are only allowed to assume the role of Defence Secretary at least seven years after leaving the uniformed services – a law intended to enforce civilian control of the armed forces.
Speaking before the Senate vote today, Senator Jack Reed, the incoming Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said:
General Austin is an exceptionally qualified leader with a long and distinguished career in the U.S. military.