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“He’s a good leader” Senate confirms Lloyd Austin to lead the Pentagon by wide margin

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 1:50 PM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The U.S. Senate confirmed a new Secretary of Defense Friday. General Lloyd Austin a native of Mobile, AL and raised in Thomasville, GA, takes his post as the nation’s top defense official during President Joe Biden’s first week in office. Austin had to jump a few hurdles on his way to becoming the first African American Defense Secretary.

“Decades of service, lot of experience, I think he’s a good leader,” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

Tuberville says Austin’s southern roots make him a good fit for the region.

“He really understands the south in terms of how important our military is,” said Tuberville.

The four-star general led US Central Command before retiring in 2016. Tuberville says he voted to confirm the West Point and Auburn University graduate despite having other objections to the Biden Administration’s agenda.

“We have to have somebody that’s experienced and really understands our military and he does that,” said Tuberville.

Before the final confirmation vote, both chambers of Congress passed a waiver allowing Austin to serve. Federal law says Defense Secretaries have to live as civilians for seven years before leading the Pentagon, a requirement Austin does not meet.

“I think you need to get somebody from a different perspective in that position and that’s why that rule was created,” said Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN).

Burchett was one of 78 House members who objected to the waiver for Austin. Burchett says Austin has an admirable and extensive military background, but he says civilians are meant to serve in this role for a reason. Burchett fears endless wars will continue unless the rules are followed.

“American lives are too valuable and we need to get back from that,” said Burchett.

The final vote to confirm Austin in the Senate 93 to two. Five senators did not vote.

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