Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as first Black Secretary of Defense

Biden Cabinet National Security
Posted at 11:17 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 11:35:03-05

The Senate has confirmed retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as President Joe Biden's Secretary of Defense.

Austin's confirmation passed the Senate with a 93-2 vote.

Once sworn in, Austin will be the first Black man to lead the Pentagon.

Austin, a former four-star general, was the 12th head of Central Command from 2013 through 2016 under President Barack Obama. Austin followed former Sec. of Defense James Mattis in leading Central Command. He also served as the vice chief of staff of the Army.

The law requires that the Secretary of Defense be at least seven years removed from active duty before taking office. However, on Thursday night, Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly voted to grant Austin a waiver to allow him to take office.

Congress also voted to grant Mattis a waiver upon his confirmation in 2017.