Lloyd Austin Confirmed 93-2 To Become First Black Defense Secretary
Lloyd Austin was confirmed in a 93-2 vote as defense secretary on Friday, becoming the first black Pentagon chief in U.S history.
It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as our country’s 28th Secretary of Defense, and I’m especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/qPAzVRxz9L
— Lloyd Austin (@LloydAustin) January 22, 2021
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as our country’s 28th Secretary of Defense, and I’m especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position,” Austin tweeted Friday. “Let’s get to work.”
Austin required a special waiver from Congress to hold the role, as the civilian position requires permission for any individual who has been out of active-duty military service for less than seven years. Austin retired from the military in 2016.
Austin, 67, has shattered many barriers throughout his 41-year-long military career as the first Black vice chief of staff of the Army and only Black leader of the US Central Command, where he strategized methods of fighting Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria.
“It’s an extraordinary, historic moment,” said the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Jack Reed, (D-Rhode Island). “A significant portion of our armed forces today are African-Americans or Latinos, and now they can see themselves at the very top of the Department of Defense, which makes real the notion of opportunity.”
The two senators to vote against the confirmation were Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The bipartisan vote marked support to have a defense secretary in place right away, a move generally made on the first day in office.