Lloyd Austin’s Prostate Cancer Reported As Defense Secretary ‘Has No Plans To Resign’ Over ‘Secret’ Hospitalization

Defense Secretary Austin Delivers Remarks At Ukraine Defense Contact Group Meeting

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia. | Source: Anna Moneymaker / Getty

UPDATED: 6:00 p.m. ET, Jan. 9

The reasons for U.S. Department of Defense Lloyd Austin‘s reported surgery and subsequent hospitalization for which top Pentagon officials were initially unaware have been revealed.

Austin, 70, underwent an operation stemming from his prostate cancer diagnosis and then was hospitalized days later after suffering complications during recovery, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder told reporters on Tuesday.

The reported lack of transparency from the Defense Department as its leader went into surgery has sparked bipartisan outrage as Republicans and Democrats alike demand answers for why even President Joe Biden was not informed of Austin’s medical procedure, which has been reported as being elective.

While Austin — the first Black person to serve as Secretary of Defense —  hasn’t addressed the most recent update in what’s quickly becoming a political scandal during a pivotal election year, a Pentagon official previously said he had no intentions of resigning.

From the Associated Press:

According to the doctors, the cancer was detected when Austin had a regular screening in early December. They said he “underwent a minimally invasive surgical procedure” and went home the next day. But on Jan. 1 he reported nausea and severe abdominal, hip and leg pain due to the infection.

They said his prostate cancer was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent.

Research shows Black men are 76% more likely to develop prostate cancer and 2.5 times more likely to die from it compared to other groups.


Original story:


There are “no plans” for the secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense to step down from President Joe Biden’s cabinet even as criticism intensifies amid reports he secretly underwent elective surgery before the new year and was re-hospitalized following post-operation complications without alerting the requisite top government stakeholders.

It remained unclear what procedure(s) may have been performed on Lloyd Austin, 70, who was re-admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center on New Year’s Day when he was “experiencing severe pain,” the Associated Press reported Sunday night – three days after it was revealed that people like Biden, the U.S. Secretary of State and top Pentagon officials were unaware the secretary had surgery on Dec. 22.

Austin reportedly stayed in the facility’s intensive care unit for at least four days and remained hospitalized “recovering well and in good spirits” as of Sunday night without any indication of when he may be released.

It appears as though Austin – the first Black Secretary of Defense – may not have followed official protocol without alerting government officials of his planned and unplanned hospitalizations, particularly at a time when there are intensifying national defense interests stemming from the ongoing conflict in the Middle East as well as the war in Ukraine, both of which the U.S. government is involved.

On Sunday, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder released an official statement via CNN:

Austin was hospitalized following an elective medical procedure he had on December 22, while he was on leave, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said. He returned home the following day, but on the evening of January 1 he “began experiencing severe pain” and was transported to Walter Reed via ambulance.

“He was placed in the hospital’s intensive care unit to ensure immediate access to due to his medical needs, but then remained in that location in part due to hospital space considerations and privacy,” Ryder said.

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen. C.Q. Brown, was notified January 2 that Austin had been hospitalized the day before, Ryder told CNN. But he is not in the chain of command. The military service secretaries, who are in the chain of command, were not notified until January 5, four days after Austin checked into the hospital.

Ryder said that Austin’s chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, was “unable to make notifications before then” due to illness.

“She made those notifications on Thursday to the deputy secretary and national security adviser,” Ryder said. He declined to answer follow-up questions about why none of Austin’s other aides could notify the White House or his deputy of his hospitalization sooner.

Notably, Ryder added that Austin “has no plans to resign” over the controversy that Reps. Mike Rogers and Adam Smith, the Republican chair and Democratic ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, respectively, expressed concern in a statement about “the disclosure” of Austin’s hospitalization.

In a previous statement released on Friday night, Ryder tried to reassure: “At all times, the Deputy Secretary of Defense was prepared to act for and exercise the powers of the Secretary, if required.”

USA Today described Austin as keeping his hospitalizations “a secret” from the president and others.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was among the government officials who said they were unaware of Austin’s hospitalizations.

One Pentagon official who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity questioned the protocol and suggested there may be a “cover-up” at play, underscoring the concerns about Austin.

“Heads have to roll,” Brett Bruen, a former diplomat and expert in crisis communications who worked in the White House under then-President Barack Obama, told USA Today. “This is not a minor miscommunication. It’s about the confidence that our national security structure has in its leadership and that the leadership is acting in a transparent way.”

Austin was swiftly confirmed as the first Black secretary of defense nearly three years ago following his nomination by Biden after the 2020 election was certified.

Biden notably called Austin “the person we need in this moment” after a mini-bipartisan controversy broke out because he had only been retired for fewer than five years – fewer than the seven years of being a civilian stipulated by law for all Defense Secretary nominees.

In remarks after his confirmation, Austin tried to allay concerns about having any conflict of interest while serving as secretary of defense.

“I come to this new role as a civilian leader,” he said. “With military experience, to be sure, but also with a deep appreciation for maintaining civilian control of the defense department.”

He said he would surround himself with career civil servants and ensure there is “meaningful civilian oversight.”


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