Lloyd Austin, the US Defense Minister, was admitted to hospital for an urgent bladder problem. This hospitalization came after he had previously undergone surgery for prostate cancer. Despite calls for his resignation, President Joe Biden expressed confidence in him and acknowledged that there was no vacancy of power or risk for the command and control of the ministry.
After being admitted to intensive care, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks took on the role of head of the Pentagon. Doctors stated that the bladder problem should not affect his expected full recovery and that his prognosis for cancer remained excellent. Lloyd Austin’s discretion in handling his health issues was attributed to his desire to avoid the limelight and maintain a reputation as a largely apolitical public servant who is comfortable with American troops.
The controversy over his health problems arose while the US was closely following major conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and as US forces in Iraq and Syria were being targeted by attacks by Iranian-backed fighters. Despite this, Biden maintained his confidence in Austin, who is a key figure in the administration’s efforts to maintain support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.