Gen. Lloyd Austin has emerged as the first Black Secretary of Defence in the United States, following Senate’s confirmation on Friday.
The U.S Senate approved President Joe Biden‘s nomination for Pentagon chief in a 93 to 2 vote.
“General Austin is an exceptionally qualified leader with a long and distinguished career in the US military,” Senator Jack Reed, the incoming Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said before the vote.
Earlier, Austin’s status as a recently retired Army general stood as an obstacle because he needed a waiver of a legal prohibition on a military officer serving as secretary of defence within seven years of retirement.
However, on Thursday, Members of Congress granted Austin a waiver which allows him to lead the Pentagon even though he had not cleared the required seven-year waiting period since leaving the uniformed services.
Austin‘s confirmation comes just two days after Biden’s inauguration and he is the President’s second cabinet nominee to be confirmed by the Senate.
Avril Haines was earlier confirmed on Wednesday as the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence.