The Biden Administration Series is a series of short articles doing profiles on the politicians Biden is appointing to his Cabinet. Each article will discuss the person’s political history and the potential implications their addition to the administration could have on the public.

Lloyd Austin

  • Party: N/A
  • Education: United States Military Academy (BS), Auburn University (MA), Webster University (MBA)
  • Four-star Army General
  • Vice Chief of Staff of United States Army
  • Commander of United States Central Command

Continuing Joe Biden’s streak of selecting Cabinet members that break barriers is Lloyd Austin. The retired four-star Army General has just been confirmed as Biden’s Secretary of Defense, making him the first black person to serve in the position. Austin has had a long and distinguished career in the military and was confirmed as Secretary of defense by the Senate on January 24th. 

Austin’s whole life has been involved with the United States military. After graduating from West Point, he immediately began serving in the Army. In 2010, he became Commanding General of the United States Forces in Iraq (USF-I); this is where he first met Joe Biden. Over the next year, Austin oversaw the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, a massive operation involving 150,000 soldiers. 

After leaving Iraq, Austin became the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Under his supervision, the army took steps to implement better mental health care provisions and reduce cases of suicide. The wellbeing of the military has always seemed to be a priority of Austin’s, and we’ve seen this pattern continue during the short time he has served as Defense Secretary. Hours into being confirmed in his new position, Austin ordered a thorough review of sexual assault prevention practices in the military, demanding reports on how the military’s current practices were doing and whether or not they needed to be overhauled. He reportedly wants to ‘stamp out’ sexual assault in the military. 

An interesting facet of Austin’s appointment is that Joe Biden felt the need to pen an article for The Atlantic, aptly titled “Why I Chose Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.” As far as I can recall, this isn’t a common practice. But this article sings praises of Austin, and in Biden’s defense, he does seem like a good choice for the position, especially evidenced by the few things he’s implemented since being confirmed. In the article, Biden describes Austin as ‘the definition of a patriot,’ ‘distinguished,’ and a ‘trailblazer.’ However, his nomination was met with some concern. Some Congress members were concerned about his confirmation’s impact on civil-military relations. However, when it came time to vote, only two members of Congress, Josh Hawley (MO-R) and Mike Lee (UT-R) voted against him. We look forward to seeing more from Lloyd Austin in the future, and hope that whatever decisions he make are indeed in line with the following statement from President Biden:

“We need a leader who is tested, and matched to the challenges we face in this moment. I know how he reacts under pressure, and I know that he will do whatever it takes to defend the American people.”

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