Defense Secretary Austin to Undergo Surgery, Appoints Deputy

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to undergo a planned, minimally invasive procedure on Friday evening, related to a recent bladder issue.

On February 11, Austin was hospitalized for two days due to an “emergent bladder issue,” according to his doctors.

“This evening, the secretary will have a scheduled, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder stated on Friday afternoon, referring to the previous bladder issue.

During this time, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will temporarily assume Austin’s duties as acting secretary. Ryder did not indicate the duration of her temporary role.

Congress and the White House have been informed of Austin’s procedure by the Pentagon.

Previously, Austin was hospitalized on January 1 due to complications from prostate cancer treatment he received on December 22, 2023, following his diagnosis earlier that month. The Pentagon did not inform Congress, the White House, or the public until several days later.

The Defense Department notified the White House on January 4, and both the public and Congress on January 5, which coincided with Austin resuming his duties after transferring them to Hicks on January 2.

This handling led to scrutiny from both Congress and the White House, prompting updates in relevant policies by the Pentagon and the White House.

Austin has since apologized for the lack of transparency regarding his hospitalization and diagnosis.

“I was being treated for prostate cancer,” Austin explained. “The news was a shock, and I know it shocks many others, especially in the black community. It was a gut punch, and my first instinct was to keep it private due to my naturally private nature. I never like burdening others with my problems. But I’ve learned from this experience.”

He was hospitalized again in February due to a bladder issue. Ryder emphasized that this issue is “not related to his cancer diagnosis and has not affected his excellent cancer prognosis.”

Mike Brest
Mike Brest
Defense Reporter. Prior to joining the defense beat, he spent two years covering breaking news, and he worked at the Daily Caller in a similar capacity before that. Mike graduated from American University and is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia.

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