Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, 70, to transfer power to his deputy as he goes under the


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will transfer power to his deputy as he goes under the knife at Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday night.

The 70-year-old Pentagon chief will undergo a medical procedure for bladder issues and will be ‘unable to perform his functions’.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will therefore take over temporarily and act as Secretary of Defense.

The Pentagon said the operation was not related to his battle with cancer, which was the center of controversy earlier this year when didn’t disclose his treatment to the White House.

The procedure ‘has had no effect on his exrcellent cancer prognosis,’ Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.

He was dragged in front of Congress and admitted he had made a mistake by not informing the public, the media or his second in command that he was going into hospital.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will transfer power to his deputy as he goes under the knife at Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday night

The White House said in January President Biden had ‘complete confidence’ in Austin and he continued to perform his duties.

The news came on a day when Austin got to take part in a milestone for midshipmen, addressing a graduating ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

He told them they would be leading future sailors and Marines ‘through tension and uncertainty,’ at a time when U.S. forces are protecting key waterways in the Red Sea amid war and tensions in the Middle East.

The Navy has stationed multiple ships in the Red Sea since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, which has heightened tensions in the region. The secretary said the two ensigns, who only just graduated last year, were aboard the Navy destroyer and ‘helped defend the freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.’

Austin used a cain after his hospitalization. He was at the White House Thursday and delivered a speech at the Naval Academy Friday

Austin used a cain after his hospitalization. He was at the White House Thursday and delivered a speech at the Naval Academy Friday

‘They helped those in distress at sea,’ Austin said. ‘They helped degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.’

Austin delivered the speech for the second year running. 

‘I´m just happy that you were so eager to bring back an old West Point guy,’ said Austin, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. ‘And for anyone who thinks that the second installment can´t be as good as the first – hey, just think of ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’  

On Thursday, Austin attended an arrival ceremony for Kenyan President William Ruto.



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