REPORT: Joe Biden Will Tap Retired General Lloyd Austin As Defense Secretary

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
Font Size:

President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly chosen retired General Lloyd Austin to be his Defense Secretary.

The former head of U. S. Central Command rose to the top of the list amid calls for Biden to appoint more African Americans to key roles in his administration, according to a Monday report from Politico,.

“General Austin is a southerner, has impeccable credentials given his military career and would be an outstanding secretary for the department,” Democratic Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson told Politico.

Biden is expected to announce the selection Tuesday, but some have already begun to criticize the move. Austin, like retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, would require a waiver in order to take the Pentagon’s top job because he has been retired fewer than the requisite seven years. (RELATED: ‘You Lost Me’: Retired Marine Criticizes Mattis Over Letter About Lafayette Park Protesters)

Georgetown University law professor Rosa Brooks called it “a terrible idea,” saying that putting a recently-retired general in that position “sends the worst possible message.”

Brooks was also a proponent of appointing a woman to head the Pentagon, according to a recent op-ed she wrote for the New York Times. “If Joe Biden chooses a woman as his secretary of defense, he would send an important and long overdue message,” she wrote.

Sixteen Democrats — and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — voted against the waiver that allowed Mattis to serve as President Donald Trump’s first defense secretary.