Biden will also officially introduce Lloyd Austin as a defense secretary candidate

The U.S. Army (retired) General Lloyd Austin will speak after US President-elect Joe Biden is officially appointed Secretary of the Department of Defense by the US President-elect at the Queen Theater on December 9, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

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WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden officially announced Wednesday that retired four-star General Lloyd Austin of the Army has been selected as the 28th Secretary of Defense.

“We need to prepare to meet the challenges of the future and not only continue the wars of the past, but also build foreign policy to lead through diplomacy, revitalize the State Department, revitalize our alliance, put the American leadership back on the table and gather the world. to global threats, “Biden said.

“From epidemics to climate change, from nuclear proliferation to the refugee crisis … Lloyd Austin knows how to do this work,” he added.

Austin’s election has sparked some controversy over his business dealings as well as his recent retirement as a general. Austin is currently a board member of Raytheon’s defense giant. President Donald Trump’s former Pentagon boss, James Mattis, Mark Esper and Patrick Shanahan, acting defense secretary, have also been in contact with General Dynamics defense giants Raytheon and Boeing.

Under the National Security Act of 1947, Congress banned anyone from serving as a defense secretary within seven years of active duty. But Austin left the military just four years ago and would need a separate congressional resignation to circumvent the seven-year rule.

“There is a good reason for this law, which I fully understand and respect. I would not ask for this exception if I did not believe that this moment in our history does not call for it,” Biden said.

“I know this man, I know he respects our constitution and he respects our system of government. So, like Secretary Jim Mattis, I asked for an exemption from Congress,” Biden added.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 1975 West Point will be the Pentagon’s first black leader to break one of the more enduring obstacles to the U.S. government.

Lloyd Austin III, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, will hold a media briefing at the Washington Pentagon on October 17, 2014, on the international military effort against the Islamic State (Islamic State) Group, Operation Inherent Resolve.

Paul J. Richards | AFP | Getty Images

In his remarks, Austin cited the military

Beau Biden, in the service of Joe Biden’s late son.

Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015, served as a military lawyer in the U.S. Army and worked for Austin’s Iraqi staff.

“Beau was a very special man, a true patriot and a good friend to all who knew him,” Austin said.

“As a civilian leader with military experience, I fill this role to be confident, while at the same time with deep appreciation and respect for the prevailing wisdom of civilian control of our military,” Austin said alongside Biden.

“As defense secretaries, there will always be men and women, military and civilians, who make up the class and their families,” Austin added.

Read more: Biden defends appointment of recently retired General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense

Writing in the Atlantic Tuesday, Biden implicitly acknowledged that Austin’s appointment violated civilian requirements, but argued that the power of Austin’s qualifications outweighed the potential damage of blurring the civil-military divide.

“I respect and believe in the importance of civilian control of our military and the importance of a strong civilian-military working relationship with the DoD – as well as Austin,” Biden wrote.

“Austin also knows that the defense secretariat has different responsibilities than a chief officer, and that civil-military dynamics have been under great stress over the past four years,” Biden wrote.