President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly chosen retired General Lloyd Austin to be his Defense Secretary.
The former head of U. S. Central Command rose to the top of the list amid calls for Biden to appoint more African Americans to key roles in his administration, according to a Monday report from Politico,.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) December 7, 2020
“General Austin is a southerner, has impeccable credentials given his military career and would be an outstanding secretary for the department,” Democratic Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson told Politico.
Biden is expected to announce the selection Tuesday, but some have already begun to criticize the move. Austin, like retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, would require a waiver in order to take the Pentagon’s top job because he has been retired fewer than the requisite seven years.
Joe Biden to picks retired Army General Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense, making history with the first Black Pentagon chief but again breaking with tradition by requiring a congressional waiver meant to ensure civilian control. https://t.co/cvuUWBQW3Q
— Bryan Bender (@BryanDBender) December 7, 2020
Austin would need a waiver because he hasn’t been out of the military for the required 7 years. Jack Reed, top Dem on Armed Services, has said he’ll oppose future waivers after Mattis got one. Reed says it should happen “no more than once in a generation.”https://t.co/4hu7HscDjm
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) December 7, 2020
Georgetown University law professor Rosa Brooks called it “a terrible idea,” saying that putting a recently-retired general in that position “sends the worst possible message.”
Whoa…. Suddenly also hearing names of several recently retired 4 stars suggested as potentially serious contenders for Secretary of Defense. From a civil-military relations perspective, this seems like a terrible idea. 1/
— Rosa Brooks (@brooks_rosa) November 26, 2020
Brooks was also a proponent of appointing a woman to head the Pentagon, according to a recent op-ed she wrote for the New York Times. “If Joe Biden chooses a woman as his secretary of defense, he would send an important and long overdue message,” she wrote.
Sixteen Democrats — and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — voted against the waiver that allowed Mattis to serve as President Donald Trump’s first defense secretary.
Here's the full list of 17 Senate Democrats who voted against a waiver of the seven-year rule for Mattis to serve as SecDef back in 2017: pic.twitter.com/xCtyBnM3b1
— Leo Shane III (@LeoShane) December 8, 2020