Home AMERICA UNITED STATES: Joe Biden chooses an African-American to lead the Pentagon

UNITED STATES: Joe Biden chooses an African-American to lead the Pentagon

Llyod Austin @ Page Faecbook

President-elect of the United States Joe Biden chose retired General Lloyd Austin, who oversaw American troops deployed in the Middle East during Barack Obama’s term as Secretary of Defense. If confirmed by the Senate, he would become the first African-American to lead the Pentagon.

According to several American media, Joe Biden chose Lloyd Austin to lead the Pentagon. The 67-year-old retired Army General fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming the first man of colour to lead the US Army Central Command (Centcom).

Lloyd Austin succeeded Jim Mattis, who was Donald Trump’s Defence Minister from 2017 to 2019, as head of Centcom. He retired in 2016, before moving into the defence industry, like many of his predecessors. He sits on the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies.

However, Joe Biden’s decision is already being criticized. Congressional officials and national security experts disagreed with the appointment, noting that Lloyd Austin’s retirement was less than seven years old. The U.S. Congress, which is committed to civilian control of the military, has adopted regulations stipulating that a former military member must have been retired for more than seven years to become Minister of Defence. Since this deadline would not be respected with Lloyd Austin, the elected officials should however grant him a dispensation. They did it in 2016 for Jim Mattis, but in protest.

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“His candidacy should not be considered, as well as Mattis’ candidacy should not have been considered,” tweeted Conservative Justin Amash on Monday. “The law prohibits recently retired military personnel from occupying this civilian position. Biden should not be the second consecutive president to violate this standard,’ he added.

“I have nothing but respect for Lloyd Austin, but choosing another retired general so recently that he will need a dispensation from Congress sends a very bad message,” Rosa Brooks also tweeted, a former head of the Pentagon who now teaches at Georgetown University.
Black parliamentarians and personalities had called on Biden to appoint more African Americans to key positions in his cabinet. The 78-year-old president-elect and his future vice-president Kamala Harris, 56, the first woman and the first black person to hold the post, promised a government that “looks like America” in all its diversity.


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