Questions swirl over Austin’s limited experience
Joe Biden has a personal rapport with the retired four-star, but concerns have surfaced over whether he has the chops to tackle the array of global challenges.
If President-elect Joe Biden is expecting senators to focus on the historic nature of his nominee to lead the Pentagon, he might be in for a rude shock.
Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, an imposing West Point graduate and devout Catholic, is expected to face tough questions about his views on numerous pressing global issues, from China to climate change, that go well beyond the military realm and with which he has far less experience and little public record. Senators at his confirmation hearing will likely also grill him about his tenure as the top commander in the Middle East and his business ties in civilian life.
And while confirming him as America’s first Black secretary of Defense would make history, Biden’s choice of Austin has already set off more hand-wringing than any other Biden pick — much of it focused on the fact that he will require another waiver from Congress, just four years after it reluctantly gave one to Jim Mattis, another recently retired general tapped to run the Department of Defense.