Durbin Meets with General Lloyd Austin, President-Elect Biden's Nominee for Defense Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, today released the following statement after a call with General Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be Secretary of Defense.  On the call, Durbin asked General Austin how he would approach leading the Pentagon as a civilian; how the U.S. can compete with adversaries like China; and about necessary reforms to address a variety of issues like procurement delays and sexual assault and harassment in the military.  If confirmed, General Austin would be the first African American Defense Secretary. 

“General Austin is a patriot, statesman, and has served our country with honor and dignity.  During our call today, we discussed many important issues including countering China, the significant problem of sexual assault and harassment across the military, and developing new technologies such as AI and cyber.  General Austin has the experience we need to lead our national defense effort.”

On the call, Durbin also encouraged General Austin to visit Illinois’ military sites, including Naval Station Great Lakes, Scott Air Force Base, Rock Island Arsenal, 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, and the 183rd Fighter Wing in Springfield.