Pentagon head to transfer power during scheduled medical procedure


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will temporarily transfer the reins of the Defense Department to his deputy on Friday evening for a scheduled medical procedure, according to his spokesperson, Paralel.Az reports citing Politico.

The non-surgical procedure, which is elective and “minimally invasive,” is related to his previous bladder issue, which landed him in the hospital in February, not his diagnosis of prostate cancer, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a Friday statement. The procedure will take place at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Since Austin will be “temporarily unable to perform his functions and duties during the procedure,” Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks will serve as the acting defense secretary, Ryder said.

The Pentagon has notified the White House and Congress about the transfer of power, Ryder said. The statement did not say how long Austin would be in the hospital, and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions from POLITICO.