Following an overwhelming 93 to 2 bipartisan Senate vote, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin has been confirmed as America's first black U.S. Secretary of Defense. Austin has spent more than 40 years of service in the Army, including a stint leading the U.S. Central Command during the country's operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
After expressing his gratitude at being selected, the 67-year-old Austin took immediate command of the Pentagon, declaring he was ready to "get to work."
Austin's first matter of business may be dealing with a policy change on service qualifications. President Biden has signaled he will soon reverse the Trump administration's ban on transgenderism in the military.
Asked about the issue during his confirmation hearings, Austin said he would be in favor of the reversal.
"If you're fit and you're qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout," Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) were the two senators who voted against Austin's confirmation.