Austin appointed as first black defense secretary
Published: 01:41 PM, 23 January 2021 Updated: 01:41 PM, 23 January 2021
Lloyd James Austin III; Photo: Collected
Lloyd James Austin III named Secretary of Defense in the cabinet of new US President Joe Biden. For the first time in the country’s history, a black man has been appointed to run the department. In addition to play a key role in various international issues, he must also address the challenge of racism within the military.
The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed his appointment as Pentagon chief.
Austin, 67, now has to shoulder the responsibility of controlling the huge US military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.
In a written message to the army, he said, “It is my duty as Secretary of Defense to make you more effective in your responsibilities. That is, to make sure that you have enough equipment, technology, weapons and training to resist our enemies. This means giving you a clear idea of the goal through sound policies and action plans. As well as giving the maximum in terms of cooperation with our friends and colleagues. This is what people want from us.”
Austin retired in 2016 after serving as the first black general in the US Army's Central Command. Earlier, in 2012, as the first black man, he was appointed as the Vice Chief of Staff of the country’s army.
He has also served as Director of Joint Staff in the U.S. Department of Defense. Austin has had the opportunity to get a closer look at the internal structure of the Pentagon while working on this post, which is basically behind the scenes.
Austin was the top commander of US forces in Baghdad when current US President Joe Biden was vice president of the Barack Obama administration in 2010-11. That was the beginning of a relationship of trust between them.