Retired Fort Drum general awaiting confirmation as Secretary of Defense


Secretary of Defense nominee Lloyd Austin, a recently retired Army general, speaks during his conformation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — President Joe Biden is in the process of choosing his Secretary of Defense, and a retired General, previously stationed at Fort Drum, is his top nominee.

Lloyd J. Austin III, is a retired four-star U.S. Army general headed the U.S. Central Command. He has also been noted to be the first Black man to hold the Pentagon’s top civilian job.

Throughout his time in the Army, he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, where he served at the S-3 and later executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry.

He is currently being considered by the Senate for the Secretary of Defense under the new Presidential administration.

Prior to President Biden’s swearing-in, Secretary Nominee Austin addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying that the Defense Department resources and strategy should match:

“The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces, the subordination of military power to the civil,” said Austin. “I spent my entire life committed to that principle. In war and peace, I implemented the policies of civilians [who were] elected and appointed over me.” 

He added, “I intend to surround myself with empowered, experienced, capable civilian leaders who will enable healthy civil-military relation grounded in meaningful oversight.”

At this time, Austin is awaiting confirmation, however local Congresswoman Elise Stefanik shared her support.

“Today, I was proud to support a waiver for retired General Lloyd Austin to be considered for confirmation by the Senate to be the United States Secretary of Defense. General Austin has a strong record of leadership throughout four decades of honorable military service. It is particularly encouraging for my constituents in the North Country to have a former 10th Mountain Division commander with a deep understanding of the unique strengths of Fort Drum serve as secretary. While I support the waiver for General Austin and supported the waiver for General James Mattis in 2017, I believe we must re-embrace civilian leadership and control of the military to uphold the civil-military relationship that has persevered for generations. I wish General Austin all the best in his confirmation, and I look forward to inviting him back to Fort Drum. I will continue to work closely with the civilian leadership at the Department of Defense to protect our national security.”

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