Who is Lloyd Austin -  Secretary of Defense: Biography, Career and Personal Life


Photo: Politico.com

Who is Lloyd Austin?

Lloyd Austin was the 12th Commander of the U.S. Central Command, retiring as a four-star general in 2016 after more than 40 years of military service, according to Buildbackbetter.

Biden's Pick for Secretary of Defense

The reported decision of President-elect Joe Biden to nominate retired Army general Lloyd J. Austin as Secretary of Defense is an inspired choice that will serve the new administration well. Neither the President-elect nor the other members of his security team announced to date have seen war up close, so they need a senior participant in their deliberations who has been there and fully grasps the realities of modern conflict.

Who is Lloyd Austin -  Secretary of Defense: Biography, Career and Personal Life
Photo: Teletrader.com

Biden came to know General Austin when, as Vice President during the Obama years, he took a leading role in withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and then subsequently mounting a campaign to defeat the Islamic State. Austin briefed Biden frequently, and so he is a known commodity to the President-elect.

As is clear from the appointments that Biden has already announced, the President-elect is most comfortable with advisors he has known for a long time, such as Secretary of State-designate Antony Blinken and incoming National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan—both of whom were the top security advisors to Biden when he was Vice President.

Joe Biden has been involved in national security policy since he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. In fact, he was added to the Obama presidential ticket in 2008 largely on the basis of his recognized expertise in foreign policy and security matters. But he hasn’t always made the right calls on when to intervene and when to avoid committing forces; having a partner such as Lloyd Austin to consult increases the likelihood that Washington can avoid new “forever wars” in the future, Forbes noted.

For full list of nominees to Biden's upcoming administration, please click here!

Who is Lloyd Austin -  Secretary of Defense: Biography, Career and Personal Life
Photo: Army.mil

Early life and Education

Born in Mobile, Alabama, on August 8, 1953, Austin grew up as an exceptional student and athlete. Upon graduating high school, the future general was offered an academic scholarship to attend Notre Dame University but opted for West Point Military Academy instead, at his father’s behest. During his tenure at West Point, Austin played rugby and was a member of the track team.

He graduated from West Point in 1975 and began his military career as a platoon leader for the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. As his career progressed, Austin returned to school, earning a master’s degree in counselor education at Auburn University and earning another in business management at Webster University, Sandboxx listed.

Career path

In 2008 General Austin returned to Iraq as the commanding general of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq during the period when the surge forces were drawing down under Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2009 he was assigned to the Pentagon as the director of the Joint Staff, followed by another tour in Iraq as the commanding general of United States Forces-Iraq, responsible for the transition of all U.S. and Coalition military forces and equipment out of the country by the December 2011 deadline.

In 2012 General Austin served as the 33rd vice chief of staff of the Army, culminating his military career as the 12th commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2013 to 2016. As CENTCOM commander he was responsible for military strategy and joint operations throughout the Middle East and Central and South Asia. He was also the architect and oversaw the execution of the military campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He retired from the military on May 1, 2016, and is now the founder and president of The Austin Strategy Group, Carnegie reported.


General Austin holds a BS from the United States Military Academy (West Point), an MA in education from Auburn University, and a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Webster University.

His many awards and decorations include five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the country’s highest noncombat-related military award; three Distinguished Service Medals; the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor in combat; and two Legions of Merit.

Family background

Who is Lloyd Austin -  Secretary of Defense: Biography, Career and Personal Life


Photo: Army.mil

Charlene D. Austin is a Washington, D.C. native. She has been married to Gen.(Ret) Lloyd Austin for 35 years. Charlene earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC, and a Master of Science degree in Education (Guidance/ Counseling) from Auburn University, Auburn, AL.

She is a National Advisor/Advocate for the Military Child Education Coalition and Board member for the Military Family Research Institute of Purdue University. Mrs. Austin is currently serving as an Ambassador for Tampa Bay Dress for Success Incorporated. She also serves on the Board of Governance for United Way Suncoast based in Tampa Florida and the Advisory Committee for the United Way Suncoast -Mission United Project, Capstone noted.

*Check out Full List of Biden's Cabinet HERE!

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