WILMINGTON, DE (WWNY) - Former 10th Mountain Division commander and retired four-star Army general Lloyd Austin says he reveres the principle of civilian control of the military.
Austin made the remarks after after President-elect Joe Biden introduced him Wednesday as his nominee as as secretary of defense.
Biden urged Congress to waive a legal requirement that a secretary of defense be out of military service at least seven years before taking office. Austin retired four years ago after 41 years in the Army.
Austin said he understands the need for civilian control of the military and sees himself as a civilian, not as a general.
He said that if confirmed by the Senate, he will surround himself in the Pentagon with civilian officials and advisers to ensure accountability.
“I come to this, this new role as a civilian leader with military experience, to be sure, but also with a deep appreciation and reverence for the prevailing wisdom of civilian control of our military,” said Austin.
Austin would be the first Black leader of the Pentagon if confirmed by the Senate.
He served as the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division from 2003 to 2005 - a time when soldiers saw constant deployments to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Austin went on to other high-ranking roles, including Vice Chief of Staff of the United State Army and commander of United States Central Command.