By Natalie Rodgers
Retired General Lloyd Austin has been chosen as the United States’ Secretary of Defense under President Joe Biden, making him the first black person to hold the position.
Before earning his four-star general rank and officially retiring in 2016, General Austin led the command on various historical events. He served in the U.S. Army for almost 41 years, spending much of his time as a General and commanding officer. After working for the Pentagon as the Chief Joint Operations Division for two years, Austin oversaw issues in Iraq; overseeing Operation Iraqi Freedom and the combat aspects of Operation New Dawn.
Photo Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
In 2010, Austin became the Commanding General of the United States Forces in Iraq and played an integral part in handling negotiations between the United States and Iraq governments.
In 2011, Austin was nominated to be the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA), where handled the organization’s budget and improved upon issues concerning suicide, mental health, and disability. From there, he took on the commanding position of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) under President Barack Obama’s nomination, making him the first black man to ever serve in the role.
Upon his retirement in 2016, Austin worked on the boards of large name companies such as Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare. He also runs his own operating firm.
Outside of his professional and official positions, Austin has been known to care for Gold Star Families, the loved ones of military personnel who passed away in service. It is highly believed that Austin’s extensive experience in the field and his understanding of the cost of life are two of the main reasons why he was nominated for the position by President Biden. Austin, much like previous Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, will need be waived from a law calling for a seven-year gap between service and the position.