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Hospitalized Pentagon chief Austin delegated responsibilities to deputy

Hospitalized Pentagon chief Austin delegated responsibilities to deputy Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Pentagon (photo: Getty Images)

70-year-old United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who was hospitalized in Washington due to bladder issues, has delegated his duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, announces Pentagon Press Secretary Major General Pat Ryder.

According to the official at the briefing, Austin was transported on Sunday to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of symptoms indicating an urgent issue with his urinary bladder.

Before this, it was reported that the Secretary of Defense retains the functions and duties of his office.

However, the Pentagon also stated that the Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense if necessary.

"Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties," Ryder's statement said several hours ago.

It should be noted that this is not the first time Kathleen Hicks has been granted authority by the Pentagon chief due to Austin's health issues. In early January, she also received authorization to act on behalf of her boss during his previous hospitalization just before the New Year.

Госпіталізований глава Пентагону Остін передав обов'язки заступнику

Kathleen Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States (photo:

What is known about Kathleen Hicks

Kathleen Anne Holland Hicks has been serving as the Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States since 2021. She is the first woman confirmed by the Senate for this position and is the highest-ranking woman currently serving in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Previously, she was the first Deputy Secretary of Defense for Policy during the Obama administration. Before 2020, she worked as an American national security advisor, a senior vice president, and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

What preceded this

On the eve, it became known that 70-year-old U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was hospitalized again due to problems with his bladder. As Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder informed, all top government structures have been informed about the situation.

Previously, on January 15, the minister was discharged from the hospital, and within a few days, he returned to full work.

In December of last year, the head of the Pentagon was diagnosed with prostate cancer. On January 1, Lloyd Austin was hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to complications after a planned medical procedure.

The Pentagon then released information about this only 4 days after the minister was taken to the hospital. U.S. President Joe Biden stated that it was a mistake on Austin's part not to report his hospitalization. Following this, Austin apologized during a televised briefing. On February 29, he is scheduled to testify before Congress about this situation.