U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Virginia for a bladder problem, and has transferred duties to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon announced this on Monday, adding that it is not yet clear how long he will remain in hospital.
Austin was initially kept secret about his hospitalization even from President Joe Biden, and raised controversy in the United States when news of his condition became public. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer last December and underwent surgery. Austin was then hospitalized again on January 1 due to complications.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense’s secret hospitalization sparked controversy in the U.S., but he is now receiving medical attention at a top military medical center while his duties are being carried out by his deputy Kathleen Hicks. It remains to be seen how long he will remain in the hospital, but the Pentagon is monitoring his condition closely and working to ensure a smooth transition of power within the Department of Defense during this time.