U.S President-elect Joe Biden's on Wednesday officially announced Lloyd Austin as his pick for Defense Secretary. It is the third time an African-American Retired Army General will lead the Pentagon if confirmed to the role in the country's history.
"I come to this role, this new role as a, as a civilian leader, with military experience, to be sure, but also with a deep appreciation and reverence for the prevailing wisdom of civilian control of our military'', Austin said.
The Retired four-star Army General would need a congressional waiver, because he's been out of the military less than the seven years required by law. Biden said he was honored to have nominated the Retired four-star Army General.
"There is no doubt in my mind, not any doubt whatsoever, whether this nominee will honor, respect and on a day-to-day basis breathe life into the preeminent principle of civilian leadership over military matters in our nation.''
Austin has said that he reveres the principle of civilian control of the military and sees himself now as a civilian, not as a general.
Will Weissert is Associated Press' National Political Reporter.
"This is something that's only happened twice in the history of the country. The first time was in 1950. Then again, it happened four years ago when President Trump was first coming into office. He nominated General Mattis, who was also a retired general who had not been out of service for seven years and was able to secure a congressional waiver at the time to become Trump's Secretary of Defense. A lot of well, at least some prominent Democrats opposed that. They said that they really felt like the separation between the military and the civilian forces was important. They didn't want to go against that principle. Now, they may have to do a little bit of tap dancing because they, they -- if they stick to their guns, then they are defying a Democratic president just as he's taking office."
Austin said if confirmed by the Senate, he will surround himself in the Pentagon with civilian officials and advisers to ensure accountability.