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Breaking news from The Washington Post reports that the Senate has confirmed Lloyd Austin to lead the pentagon in the Biden administration, making him the nation’s first Black defense secretary. Congress had granted a waiver to a rule requiring former uniformed military personnel to be seven years removed from active service before they can become defense secretary.

The Senate held a confirmation vote on Friday for President Joe Biden’s defense secretary pick. The House of Representatives and Senate approved a waiver Thursday for retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Secretary of Defense. According to Axios, the Senate voted 93-2 to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. The New York Times said that in a 93-2 vote, Senators helped President Biden fill a critical national security position and elevated the first Black Pentagon chief.

Lloyd J. Austin III, seen above at a Stars and Stripes event with BEYA STEM Conference Chairman Tyrone Taborn (right) and Gregory J. Hayes, CEO, Raytheon Technologies (left), is a retired four-star U.S. Army general with nearly 41 years of military service.

Gen. Austin served for three years as the head of U.S. Central Command. He was featured on the cover of US Black Engineer magazine’s end-of-year Veterans edition in 2013 and is a Stars and Stripes honoree.

During his illustrious military career, Gen. Austin served as the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. His many awards and decorations include five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit.

Gen. Austin served on the boards of directors of Nucor Corporation, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and Guest Services, Inc., and on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Auburn University. He was also a member of the Raytheon Technologies Board of Directors. Gen. Austin has been a member of the Raytheon Technologies board (including his service on the predecessor United Technologies Corporation board) since 2016.

Gen. Austin is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and he holds two master’s degrees – one in education from Auburn University and another in business management from Webster University.

In April 2016, a special retirement ceremony was hosted by then Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley at Summerall Field, Fort Myer, Virginia. The event featured a pre-ceremony concert, a musical salute, and a presentation of awards.

“This is a noteworthy tribute to General Austin,” said retired Vice Admiral Walter Davis, one of the founding fathers of the BEYA Stars and Stripes mentoring organization.

“While in active service he gave Stars and Stripes that same dedication. Whether talking to a large audience or small group or one-on-one, he not only inspired youth to pursue engineering and STEM but he inspired excellence, dedicated hard work, and a don’t-give-up-easy attitude. In fact, all of us were inspired by him. We hope to have his continued help with Stars & Stripes. We should all let him know how much we appreciate him.”


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