Defense Secretary Under Investigation

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

( – In a belated attempt to reduce bipartisan anger over the Biden administration’s failure to notify Congress and the public that he was incapacitated, the White House is now trying to address concerns over a lack of transparency by announcing a review of procedures following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s undisclosed hospitalization.

John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, conveyed the administration’s intent to conduct a thorough review or a “hot wash,” aiming to identify and rectify any lapses in processes and procedures.

This step is seen as a proactive measure to learn from the incident and try not to fail in improving future communication.

The situation came to light when it was revealed that Austin, aged 70, had been hospitalized on January 1st.

Notably, his hospitalization was not publicly disclosed until days later. Top officials, including President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, were reportedly unaware of his condition until just before the public announcement.

The Pentagon, maintaining confidentiality, has not provided details about the medical procedure on December 22nd that led to Austin’s hospitalization and subsequent admission to intensive care.

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, informed that Austin was in considerable pain but conscious when taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Accompanied by his personal security detail and a junior aide, Austin has now resumed his duties and is recovering in a private room.

The White House emphasized the expectation that Cabinet members should promptly inform the chain of command in cases of hospitalization. Despite this incident, White House officials, including press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, reassured the public of President Biden’s continued confidence in Austin. This sentiment was echoed by Kirby, who affirmed Austin’s intention to remain in his role.