According to news reports, the US President-elect, Joe Biden, chose a retired general and former US Army Central Command commander, Lloyd Austin, to carry the Defense Department portfolio in his administration.
Austin has extensive experience in Middle East issues, and most of the military and security leaders in the region know him.
Austin worked close to Biden when the latter was Vice President Barack Obama. He served as Commander of Central Command in the US Army, between 2013 and 2016, and served as the commander of US forces in Iraq, and Deputy Chief of Staff of the US Army.
According to “CNN,” Biden and Austin “know each other well, and there is a degree of comfort between them,” and they had discussed many issues related to the Middle East, Central and South Asia in the past.
She added that Austin “knows the Pentagon from the inside out” and that it would be “an excellent choice for running the logistical matters relating to the distribution of the Corona vaccine,” noting that Austin “knows exactly the cost of the war and that he told many families who lost their loved ones (American soldiers). ».
Austin is a graduate of the West Point Academy for the US Army Corps, and although he joined the military in 1975, he did not emerge until after the events of September 11, 2001.
Austin headed the US Central Command responsible for the Middle East (Santecom) between 2013 and 2016. He undertook the most prominent military missions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and war operations against the terrorist group “ISIS” in Syria and Iraq.
Austin (67 years) belongs to Pentagon military leaders’ school known for their moderation in international conflicts. He is closer to the former US Joint Chief of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
Both of them opposed the exit of President Donald Trump’s administration from the nuclear agreement with Iran, under the pretext that it “allows Washington to monitor and control Tehran’s nuclear activity.”
Austin believes in what he calls “military pragmatism,” avoids unsecured risks, and strongly supports cooperation with historical allies to solve international conflicts.
Austin is known for his experience working closely with a prominent retired general, David Petraeus, when he was commander of US forces in Iraq, where he directed military operations in Baghdad.
The approval of Austin’s appointment as Minister of Defense requires a special decision from the Senate, allowing him to occupy this position, as he left his military duties less than 7 years ago, as stipulated by law. If the Senate agreed, Austen would become the first black man to lead the Pentagon.