Lloyd Austin to work remotely after hospital discharge


Pentagon says Lloyd Austin has full access to required secure communications capabilities as he works remotely

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. — AFP

Pentagon said Monday that Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin was released from the hospital as he was facing prostate cancer complications, days after being secretly hospitalised. 

The doctors of the former military general said he is expected to make a full recovery with no treatments planned so far. 

The Pentagon in a statement said that he has “full access to required secure communications capabilities as he works remotely.”

Over a week earlier, President Joe Biden was kept in the dark by Pentagon for at least three days about the hospitalisation of his Defence Secretary until he was informed by the national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

The US media reports indicated that Joe Biden did not know the whereabouts of Lloyd Austin as the Secretary was admitted to the hospital on January 1.

US President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 15, 2024. — AFP
US President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 15, 2024. — AFP   

Not only Biden but the top officials in the White House were also shocked after learning about the Pentagon chief’s health condition.

The Pentagon issued an official statement about its boss on January 4, which sparked severe criticism from all over the country.

According to Austin’s doctors, he is on a path to a full recovery.

“Secretary Austin progressed well throughout his stay and his strength is rebounding,” said Dr John Maddox and Dr Gregory Chesnut from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, further adding that “his prostate cancer was treated early and effectively, and his prognosis is excellent.”

Pentagon spokesperson Patrick S. Ryder while explaining the delay said over a week earlier: “It was an evolving situation, in which we had to consider a number of factors, including medical and personal privacy issues.”

The position of defense secretary is crucial in the US government hierarchy as the designated person sits below the President in the military chain of command.

Earlier in December, the 70-year-old had another surgery regarding prostate cancer and later was hospitalised due to complications on New Year’s Eve.

However, President Biden held a “cordial conversation” with Secretary Austin and expressed “complete trust and confidence.”

In a statement issued Monday, Austin expressed gratitude for his medical team and said: “Now, as I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I’m eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon.”



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