Lloyd Austin was confirmed by the Senate today, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history. Austin is a retired four-star Army general and was sworn in with a nearly-unanimous 93-2 vote.
- Austin's nomination was approved despite concerns that he hadn't been out of uniform for the mandated seven-year period.
- However, the law allows for exceptions to the rule if lawmakers in both the House and Senate approve and pass a waiver of the policy.
- Austin is now the third Pentagon chief to serve after receiving a legal waiver, the other two being General Jim Mattis, nominated by President Trump, and George Marshall, nominated by President Truman in the 1950s.
- Austin served for 40 years in the Army and also did a stint leading U.S. Central Command.