Who is Lloyd Austin?
As we heard a short time ago, Lloyd Austin won Senate confirmation today to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defence.
The 93-2 vote gave President Joe Biden his second Cabinet member — Avril Haines was confirmed on Wednesday as the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence.
As vice-president, Mr Biden worked closely with Mr Austin in 2010-11 to wind down US military involvement in Iraq, while he was the top US commander in Baghdad.
American forces withdrew entirely, only to return in 2014 after the Islamic State extremist group captured large swaths of Iraqi territory. At Central Command, Mr Austin was a key architect of the strategy to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria.
Mr Biden said in December when he announced Mr Austin as his nominee that he considered him “the person we need at this moment,” and that he trusts him to ensure civilian control of the military.
In a memorandum for Department of Defence employees posted on Twitter, Mr Austin said he was honoured to “have this chance to serve again”.
“The way I see it, my job as Secretary of Defence is to make you more effective at doing yours,” he wrote.
“That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies.
“It means establishing sound policy and strategy and assigning you clear missions.
It means putting a premium on cooperation with our allies and partners. And it means living up to our core values, the same ones our fellow citizens expect of us.”