By James Meyers
2:00 PM – Monday, February 12, 2024
After being hospitalized once, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been placed back in the hospital at Walter Reed for an “emergent bladder issue,” and has transferred his duties to the deputy defense secretary, according to Pentagon officials.
Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen Patrick S.Ryder confirmed Austin was at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in a press conference, adding that the deputy defense secretary, joint chiefs of staff, White House and Congress have all been notified.
Ryder said Austin was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed on Sunday, also adding that he is taking over the functions and duties of his office in the meantime.
“The Deputy Secretary is prepared to assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense, if required,” the statement read. “Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties.”
The latest hospitalization comes as Austin was set to lead a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) in Brussels, followed by a meeting of the NATO Defense Ministerial. The Defense Secretary attended the previous meeting of the UDCG on January 23rd virtually from his home.
Meanwhile, Austin has faced scrutiny for not notifying the Biden Administration of his previous hospitalization and his diagnosis with prostate cancer. He is scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee for the failed debacle.