Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Washington (CNN) - President-elect Joe Biden has selected retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the former commander of US Central Command, to be his secretary of defense, two sources familiar with the decision told CNN on Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black man to lead the Department of Defense.
The selection would make Austin one of the most prominent members of Biden's Cabinet and incoming administration. The secretary of defense is in control of the nation's largest government agency, commanding troops around the world and the complicated internal workings of the Pentagon that make it one of the world's most formidable bureaucracies.
It also means Austin's political chops would be put to the test, juggling calls to cut defense spending, as some in Congress want, while still funding innovative future technology and prioritizing the challenges posed by Russia and China -- all while maintaining military deterrence against Iran, North Korea, and ISIS.
Biden picked Austin despite the fact that he was not the first choice among influential members of his own party on Capitol Hill.
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