Pentagon Releases Review of Lloyd Austin Communication Breakdown

Pentagon Releases Review of Lloyd Austin Communication Breakdown

( — The Pentagon has released its review on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s failure to promptly inform the White House and public about his health status. According to the results of a 30-day review, none of the evidence the DoD examined demonstrated ill intent or a desire to obfuscate the facts.

Austin first became sick in early December 2023 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer later the same month. He had surgery at Walter Reed NMMC on December 22 and was released to continue recovering at home the next day.

The defense secretary reportedly continued to work from home over the days and weeks that followed, taking occasional time off as needed. However, his health status suddenly took a turn for the worse on January 1, 2024, when he began suffering from nausea as well as severe pain in his hip, abdomen, and groin.

Austin was rushed back to the hospital by ambulance later the same day. Doctors determined that he was suffering from a urinary tract infection and admitted him to the facility’s Critical Care Unit as they worked to stabilize his condition.

As an inpatient, Austin could no longer handle his duties. His team of staffers, several of whom reportedly remained by his side, began arranging for a transfer of powers to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks. Administrators for both Hicks and Austin communicated back and forth until they completed the process on January 2.

For reasons that remain unclear, Hicks was initially notified about the transfer of power but was not made aware of Austin’s illness, hospitalization, or cancer diagnosis. She didn’t find out until the defense secretary’s team advised her of the details on January 4.

Austin’s staffers advised the NSA of his condition a short time later. However, they did not advise Congress or release an official statement to the public until January 5.

Defense Secretary Austin has since apologized for the lack of transparency, citing his need for privacy while coping with a deeply personal health problem. The DoD acknowledged this within their review, noting that senior officials were in “an unprecedented situation” where health privacy laws complicated disclosure.

Rather than condemning anyone for the failure in communication, the review confirmed that everyone involved followed proper procedures when transferring authority to Deputy Security Hicks. However, it also made eight separate suggestions for changes aimed at improving transparency in the future, all of which Austin reportedly approved.

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