Confirmation hearing for Biden Pentagon chief pick set for Jan. 19

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for President-elect Joe Biden Joe Biden Trump acknowledges end of pr...


The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump acknowledges end of presidency after Congress certifies Biden win Congress affirms Biden win after rioters terrorize Capitol Here’s how newspaper front pages across the world looked after mobs stormed the Capitol MORE’s nominee for secretary of Defense the day before Biden’s inauguration, the panel announced Thursday.

Retired Gen. Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBiden’s team must forge an early national security strategy — and better processes Lloyd Austin can lead — as a civilian Five top challenges for Biden on defense MORE will face the panel at 3 p.m. Jan. 19, the committee said in a news release.

In addition to needing Senate confirmation, Austin will need both the Senate and House to approve a waiver for him to bypass a law requiring Defense secretaries be out-of-uniform for at least seven years. Austin has only been retired from the military for four years.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will also hold a hearing Tuesday with outside experts testifying about the waiver and civilian control of the military.

The House Armed Services Committee has not announced when it will hold a hearing on Austin’s waiver. Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Capitol overrun by pro-Trump rioters | Entire DC National Guard activated | 38-year-old soldier dies of COVID-19 Five top challenges for Biden on defense House overrides Trump veto of defense bill MORE (D-Wash.) has said it is imperative Austin testify before his panel before the House votes on the waiver.

A committee spokesperson told Defense News earlier Thursday that the House calendar and rules mean the hearing likely won’t happen until the day after the inauguration at the earliest. However, spokesperson told The Hill they were checking on updates after the Senate Armed Services Committee’s announcement on his confirmation hearing.

The time constraints mean Biden likely will not have his Defense secretary confirmed on the first day of his presidency, as has been tradition for key national security roles. Still, Austin is the first of Biden’s picks to have his confirmation hearing officially scheduled, signaling the importance lawmakers place on national security nominees.

On Wednesday, after Democrats gained control of the Senate by winning two runoff elections in Georgia, Biden said in a statement that his nominees for “critical national security positions,” including Defense secretary, “need to be in their jobs as soon as possible after Jan. 20.”

Some Democrats have expressed unease about granting Austin waiver so soon after they approved one for President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump acknowledges end of presidency after Congress certifies Biden win Congress affirms Biden win after rioters terrorize Capitol Third House lawmaker tests positive for COVID-19 this week MORE’s first Defense secretary, James MattisJames Norman MattisFormer Trump Pentagon officials speak out after Capitol siege Lloyd Austin can lead — as a civilian All 10 living former US Defense secretaries signed letter to Trump in two days: report MORE.

Mattis was only the second person the law was waived for since it was enacted in 1947. George Marshall received a waiver in 1950.

House Democrats largely opposed Mattis’s waiver after Trump would not let him testify before the House Armed Services Committee prior to the vote. But they are in a tough spot with Austin, in part because he would be the nation’s first Black secretary of Defense.



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Newsrust: Confirmation hearing for Biden Pentagon chief pick set for Jan. 19
Confirmation hearing for Biden Pentagon chief pick set for Jan. 19
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