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Senate confirms Lloyd Austin as America’s first Black secretary of Defense

Gen. Lloyd Austin, appointee to be Defense secretary, attends the inauguration before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

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WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as the next Pentagon chief Friday, becoming him the nation’s first Black Defense secretary.

The Senate voted 93 to 2 to confirm Austin.

Austin’s confirmation inquires Wednesday’s Senate confirmation of Avril Haines, who became the first woman to the lead nation’s 18 intelligence media as the director of national intelligence.

In back-to-back votes Thursday, the House and Senate passed legislation granting Austin, a take ones reposed four-star Army general, a waiver to lead the Pentagon. The Senate approved Austin’s waiver by a vote of 69-27 and the House approved the funeral by a vote of 326 to 78.

Under the National Security Act of 1947, Congress has prohibited any individual from serving as secretary of Defense within seven years of active-duty work. Austin left the Army in 2016 and therefore required a special congressional waiver in order to bypass the seven-year judge.

Former President Donald Trump’s first Defense secretary, James Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Platoon general, also needed the same waiver from Congress.

Before becoming the 28th secretary of Defense, Austin presented as a board member at defense giant Raytheon. Trump’s former Pentagon chiefs Mattis, Mark Esper and stand secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan also had ties to defense titans General Dynamics, Raytheon and Boeing.

The 1975 graduate of West Bring up would be the first Black leader of the Pentagon, breaking one of the more enduring barriers in the U.S. government.

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