What happened to Lloyd Austin? Why is the Defense Secretary in the ICU?

A majority of us have heard the name of Lloyd Austin (a retired United States Army four-star general). Am I right?

He has been serving as the 28th United States Secretary of Defense since January 22, 2021. Before retiring from the military in 2016, Austin served as the 12th commander of the United States Central Command.

Austin has the distinction of being the first African American to command a division, corps, and field army in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan at the one-, two-, three–, and four-star levels.

He is a recipient of the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor, for his actions during the Iraq invasion, as well as five Defense Distinguished Service Medals.

What happened to Lloyd Austin?

According to his press secretary, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized since Monday due to complications from a minor elective medical procedure, the Defense Department’s first acknowledgment that Austin had been admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center five days earlier.

Austin is “still in the hospital and recovering well” and “resumed his duties Friday evening,” Pentagon spokesperson Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Sunday, adding that he did not have details on when Austin would be discharged.

A Biden administration official told CBS News on Saturday that the National Security Council, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, was not informed Austin was in the hospital until Thursday morning.

What happened to Lloyd Austin
Why is US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized

The Pentagon’s failure to disclose Austin’s hospitalization for days reflects a stunning lack of transparency about his illness, how serious it was, and when he may be released.

Such secrecy, at a time when the United States is dealing with a slew of national security crises, is not typical of the president and other senior U.S. officials and Cabinet members.

Members of Congress were informed late Friday afternoon, according to Ryder, and other officials said lawmakers were informed after 5 p.m.

It was unclear when key senior members of Austin’s staff were informed, but many Pentagon employees found out shortly after 5 p.m. when the department stated Austin’s hospital stay. Many people assumed Austin was on vacation for the week.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Austin wrote that he is “on the mend” and looks “forward to returning to the Pentagon soon.”

“I understand the media’s concerns, and I admit that I could have done a better job of informing the public.” But it is worth noting that this was my medical procedure, and I have full responsibility for my disclosure decisions.”

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