Lloyd Austin’s appointment as Defense Secretary by the Senate on 22nd January, 2021was groundbreaking as he became the first black Defense Secretary in American history.
Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army General became the Senate’s choice despite the fact that his case was won that needed a waiver.
This waiver granted to him prior to his confirmation was the third one in American history so far. Before him, it was given to George Marshall in 1950, by President Harry Truman and James Mattis to run Donald Trump’s Pentagon in 2017.
Challenges Before Lloyd Austin:
As Austin garnered the near-unanimous vote in the Senate, there were mixed reactions from the members. Some commented that laws were made for some good reason which in turn implied waving them should also have good enough reason.
On the other hand, the Majority leader Chucks Schumer expressed his appreciation of the fact that Lloyd’s confirmation created history, being the first African-American to lead the Pentagon.
Apprehensions on his capability to tackle threats from China and Iran also arose among the experts as they deemed him to be more focused on the Middle- East with whom the US was at war for long.
The existence of extremist elements in the ranks of the military that poses a great threat also throws a challenge to the new Defense Secretary. January 06, 2021, Capitol raid stands proof of it. Addressing the issue, Lloyd Austin referred to it as a ‘critical one’ and said that better screening is needed for military recruits.
Beating the odds, getting an almost unanimous waiver, and creating history as the first black person to hold the Office a Chief of Pentagon, his opening statement “Let’s get to work” surely begins a new chapter.