Austin wins Senate confirmation as 1st Black Pentagon chief

Lloyd J. Austin has won Senate confirmation to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense. Lloyd J. Austin has won Senate confirmation to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense. |  Photo: Official Lloyd Austin, Twitter

Associated Press contributed to this report
Created: January 22, 2021 04:45 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lloyd J. Austin, the West Point graduate who rose to the Army’s elite ranks and marched through racial barriers in a 41-year career, has won Senate confirmation to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense. The vote gives President Joe Biden his second Cabinet member; Avril Haines was confirmed Wednesday as the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence.

Austin arrived Friday afternoon at the Pentagon, where he didn’t stop to answer reporters’ questions but said he looks forward to dealing with the press.

Shortly after the vote, he said on Twitter that he is especially proud to be the first Black secretary of defense, writing, “Let’s get to work.”

Austin sent a message to all Department of Defense employees saying, "I am proud to be back on your team."

The message, with a subject line: Day One Message to the Force went on to say that Austin was honored to have the chance to serve again. "The way I see it, my job as Secretary of Defense is to make you more effective at doing yours. That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies."

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Associated Press contributed to this report

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