U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was 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 her deputy, Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon announced this, adding that it is not yet clear how long she will remain in hospital. Austin’s secret hospitalization, initially kept hidden even from President Joe Biden, raised controversy in the U.S.
Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer last December and underwent surgery. However, complications from the surgery led to her being hospitalized again on January 1st. Despite this setback, Austin remains determined to continue leading the Department of Defense with integrity and dedication. Her deputy, Kathleen Hicks, has been tasked with carrying out her duties until she returns to full health.