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Pentagon head addressed his health and outlined return-to-work timelines

Pentagon head addressed his health and outlined return-to-work timelines U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (photo: Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who was hospitalized on January 1, is on the mend and ready to quickly return to work. President Joe Biden was unaware of the health condition of the Pentagon chief for several days, according to the Pentagon's website.

"I want to thank the amazing doctors and nursing staff at Walter Reed for the exceptional care they have delivered to me and for the personal warmth they have shown my family. I also appreciate all the outreach and well wishes from colleagues and friends. I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon," stated Austin.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense also acknowledged that he could have better informed the public about his health issues and promised to do better. However, he emphasized that it was his medical procedure, and he takes full responsibility for his decisions regarding the disclosure of information.

Biden learned about everything not immediately

According to Bloomberg, President Joe Biden learned about Austin's health issues several days after his hospitalization. The White House did not receive any advance information from Pentagon officials.

Biden and Austin did not communicate for two days after the president was informed about Austin's health problems on Thursday, January 4. The report notes that they spoke on the evening of Saturday, January 6. The President fully trusts his Secretary of Defense, as stated by a U.S. official.

The spokesperson for the Defense Ministry did not clarify the nature of Austin's health issue, the nature of the scheduled treatment he underwent, and why his hospitalization was not announced earlier. It was explained by Austin's concern about his private life.

Illness and hospitalization of Lloyd Austin

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was hospitalized on January 1 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center due to complications following a scheduled medical procedure. The Pentagon released information about this only four days after the official was transported to the hospital.

During his absence, his duties were performed by his deputy, Kathleen Hicks.

Lloyd Austin's tenure as U.S. Secretary of Defense

After the extensive Russian shelling on December 29, Lloyd Austin confirmed unwavering support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression, along with a coalition of around 50 NATO members and partners.

In late December, the U.S. military targeted Kata'ib Hezbollah group's facilities. The attack was a response to a drone strike on an American base in Iraq.

Additionally, the Pentagon announced the commencement of a special operation to protect maritime traffic in the Red Sea.