The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, remains hospitalized after complications from an undisclosed medical procedure, with no specific discharge date set, according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder. Despite the prolonged hospital stay, Ryder assured the public that Austin is “recovering well” and continuing to fulfill his duties.
The Pentagon only disclosed Austin’s hospitalization last Friday, nearly a week after he was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center. The Department of Defense confirmed that Austin fully resumed his responsibilities on Friday evening and has been in communication with President Biden and his deputy Kathleen Hicks.
Hicks, who was reportedly on vacation in Puerto Rico at the time of Austin’s hospitalization, was informed of his condition on Thursday afternoon and was prepared to act on his behalf if necessary. The Pentagon did not provide details about Austin’s medical condition, but reports suggested that he spent four days in intensive care.
Despite criticism of the secrecy surrounding Austin’s hospitalization, he issued a statement taking “full responsibility” for the lack of disclosure, acknowledging that he “could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed.” He reassured that he continues to monitor DoD’s day-to-day operations and is receiving operational updates.
The Pentagon has not provided a specific discharge date for Austin, but pledged to continue providing updates as they become available. Amid concerns about a potential breach in the chain of command, Austin’s health situation has raised questions about America’s national security.