Washington [US], December 10 (ANI): US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday (local time) formally introduced retired Army General Lloyd Austin as their nominee for Secretary of Defense during an event in Wilmington, Delaware.
If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black man to lead the Department of Defense.
"Today, it is my great honour to add to my national security team a leader of extraordinary courage, character, experience and accomplishment, and a man who I have seen some of the more interesting parts of the world with, when I was Vice President," said Biden.
The President-elect Joe Biden further said: "Someone with whom I have worked closely for many years, and I have seen perform to the highest standards under intense pressure. Someone who I hold in the highest personal regard as a man of great decency and a man of dignity. In my judgment there is no question that he is the right person for this job, at the right moment, leading the Department of Defense at this moment in our nation's history."
He further said that Austin was known as the 'Soldiers' leader', while adding that the former general met every challenge in the US army with extraordinary skill and profound personal decency.
"We need his experience in large scale logistical operations to help support the swift and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. We need his experience in building and managing relationships, engaging in diplomacy with our partners to help rebuild America's alliances, strengthen our shared security," Biden added.
Austin thanked Biden and Harris for the opportunity, and said that "his priority will always be the men and women, military and civilian, who make up the department and their families".
"If confirmed by the US Senate, it will be my sincere honour and privilege to return to the Department and to lead our great service members and civilians in accomplishing the mission of ensuring our nation's security," he said.
He also talked about his experience tackling high-pressure situations and work with diplomatic colleagues and partners across the world.
"President-elect Biden and I, we have worked closely together on some tough issues, and we have got to know each other on some intense and high-pressure situations, and so, you can expect that, as Secretary of Defense, I will give you the same direct and unvarnished counsel that I did back then," he said to Biden.
Austin further said that he looked forward to surrounding himself with experienced and capable civilian appointees and career civil servants, who will "enable healthy civil military relations grounded in meaningful civilian oversight.
According to CNN, Austin retired from the military four years ago, but the law states that an officer must have left the service seven years before becoming secretary of defense. Biden is asking for the Senate to grant a waiver because of this.
Austin's nomination as the first Black Defense Secretary comes as Harris is set to become the first black vice president of the US.
This comes after Biden formally announced key members of his incoming administration's health team earlier this week. (ANI)