Confusion Rises Between Pentagon and White House

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Washington Headquarters Services Director David Muir swears in Lloyd J. Austin III as secretary of defense, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2021. Holding the BIble is the Junior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Caleb Hyatt. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin did not inform the Biden Administration that he was to undergo hospitalization for several days. This led to communication breakdown between the White House and the Pentagon at a time of world geopolitical crisis.

The Secretary of Defense, a former 4-star general, was hospitalized for several days for an unknown ailment. The Pentagon is struggling to manage many world crises, such as Guyana, Gaza, the Red Sea, Ukraine, and China to name just a few. Fox News says:

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin needs to explain why the White House and senior officials weren’t immediately notified that he’d been hospitalized earlier this week until days later, amid a complex time as the Biden administration deals with a slew of national security matters abroad.

Austin was admitted to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday for complications following a recent elective medical procedure,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Friday, at which time the press was told.

Austin has escaped large scale public scrutiny for many actions. The catastrophic fall of Afghanistan in particular has still not been fully explained. NPR continues:

The defense secretary resumed his full duties on Friday. In the intervening days, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks “was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement on Friday.

NPR has confirmed that the Pentagon did not inform the White House about Austin’s hospitalization until Thursday, which was first reported by Politico.

While the public did not necessarily need to know Austin’s schedule, his colleagues in the National Security council did. Communication is key at this level of government, and a simple absence could have easily been mentioned to others who needed to know.

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