- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden formally announced Tuesday that retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin is his pick to be the next secretary of defense.

The announcement, which was expected, would put the former head of U.S. Central Command in line to lead the Pentagon, pending confirmation in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Biden said Gen. Austin is “uniquely qualified” to take on the challenges the country faces.

“General Austin shares my profound belief that our nation is at its strongest when we lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Mr. Biden said.

Gen. Austin retired his post leading U.S. Central Command in 2016. He would need both Houses of Congress to approve a waiver to skirt a 1947 law requiring former military brass to be retired for at least seven years before being appointed defense secretary.

Gen. Austin would be the first Black defense secretary. Mr. Biden’s announcement comes as the presumed president-elect is facing pressure to name more Black candidates for top-level posts in his incoming administration.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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