FORT DRUM — A former Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division commander is reportedly under consideration to become President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s Secretary of Defense.
Retired Army General Lloyd J. Austin III is on a short list of people who could be selected to lead the Pentagon, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gen. Austin’s 41-year military career, which ended with his retirement in 2016, included time as commander of the 10th Mountain Division from 2003 to 2005.
After leaving Fort Drum, Gen. Austin quickly rose up the Army’s command structure, from positions leading XVIII Airborne Corps to United States Forces-Iraq, to becoming vice chief of staff of the Army and then the commander of United States Central Command, overseeing operations in places like U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and others.
At the time of his retirement, he was recalled for his strong ties to the north country community, including meeting with several local civic groups and volunteering at the Taste of the Town event in Watertown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, to become defense secretary, Gen. Austin would require a congressional waiver from legal restrictions against the civilian post being filled by someone who was in uniform during the previous seven years.
If chosen, he would become the country’s first Black Secretary of Defense.