Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hospitalized amid Middle East missions

January 6, 2024
31 Views


Amid tensions in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was hospitalized and has not been able to perform his duties since New Year’s Day, a senior defense official said Friday.

Details about what ailed him were unavailable. He remained hospitalized Friday evening, and it was unclear when he would be released, the source said.

Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday night for “complications following a recent elective medical procedure,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement Friday evening.

Austin was expected to resume his duties Friday, Ryder said.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who was on leave, has picked up his duties, the senior defense official said.

The third in line among Pentagon civilian leadership, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, is occupied temporarily as an acting position because nominee Derek Chollet has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the source said. Sasha Baker has been acting in the role since last summer.

“At all times, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required,” Ryder said in the statement.

Pentagon officials refused to describe Austin’s condition or say what, exactly, prevented him from carrying out his duties this week.

The Pentagon also would not release details about the procedure or when it took place, and it won’t say whether Austin was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Asked why the Pentagon kept Austin’s hospitalization secret, Ryder told NBC News, “This has been an evolving situation in which we had to consider a number of factors.”

Those include Austin’s personal privacy, he said.

While Austin has been hospitalized, the U.S. conducted a rare and controversial strike against a senior Iranian-backed militia member in Baghdad, bases with Americans have been attacked at least six times, and the Biden administration has been considering options to strike Houthi militants in response to their continued attacks against ships in the Red Sea.

Tension in the region centers on the Israel-Hamas war. In October, the U.S. Navy has sent two carrier strike groups to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in response.

Iran-backed Houthi militants based in Yemen, unhappy with Israel’s attacks on Palestinian communities, have been attacking container ships in the Red Sea.

On Dec. 30, a U.S. Navy destroyer shot down two Houthi missiles after it responded to a strike on a container ship that resulted in no injuries or damage, military officials said at the time. The next day, Houthi rebels fired on Navy helicopters responding to a container ship distress call. The Navy fired back, sinking three small boats, and killing the crews, officials said.

The U.S. is also wary of further regional entanglement as Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in Lebanon exchange munitions with Israel along its northern border.





Spread the love

You may be interested

Senate passes Ukraine aid, Israel funding and path to TikTok ban, sending bill to Biden’s desk
World
shares4 views
World
shares4 views

Senate passes Ukraine aid, Israel funding and path to TikTok ban, sending bill to Biden’s desk

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 24, 2024

[ad_1] WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $95 billion package to provide critical aid to Ukraine and…

FBI director warns of TikTok’s danger
Business
shares6 views
Business
shares6 views

FBI director warns of TikTok’s danger

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 24, 2024

[ad_1] IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.Heartbreak and hope as Gaza…

Rick Ross Drops Video for Drake Diss ‘Champagne Moments’: Watch
Music
shares6 views
Music
shares6 views

Rick Ross Drops Video for Drake Diss ‘Champagne Moments’: Watch

Rajendran Achuthan - Apr 24, 2024

[ad_1] Rap star dropped "Champagne Moments" after Drake released the Kendrick Lamar (and others) diss track "Push Ups" Rick Ross…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.