Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to ‘Temporarily’ Transfer Duties While Undergoing Medical Procedure

Houthis - Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Gr
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will be going through a medical procedure on Friday evening. As a result, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will temporarily “assume” his duties.

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder released a statement stating that Austin would “undergo a scheduled, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure” which was related to a bladder issue he had at the beginning of the year.

Austin was hospitalized in February due to an “emergent bladder issue,” weeks after he had been hospitalized following prostate cancer treatment.

“The Secretary has determined he will be temporarily unable to perform his functions and duties during the procedure,” the statement from the Pentagon said. “Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense and serve as the Acting Secretary of Defense.”

In the press release, the Pentagon clarified that “the Secretary’s bladder issue is not related to his cancer diagnosis” and has not affected his “excellent cancer prognosis.”

In early January, the Pentagon revealed that Lloyd had been treated for prostate cancer after the White House launched a probe surrounding his hospitalization, during which time President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Lloyd’s deputy were not informed.

The Pentagon revealed on January 5 that Austin had been admitted to the hospital days before on New Year’s Day.


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