US Defense Secretary Austin takes full responsibility for failure to report his hospitalization

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he bears full responsibility for not informing US President Joe Biden and other officials of his hospitalization in January

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Austin testified before the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee about his hospitalization, which caused public controversy.

Austin argued that there was no disruption in the functioning of the Ministry of Defense during his stay at the hospital, and said he took “full responsibility” for not reporting this matter to the authorities.

Austin emphasized that there has never been any disruption in the command and control of the Ministry and noted that the Deputy Minister is on duty when he is not available.

Stating that he apologized to Biden about the issue, Austin pointed out that institutional arrangements will be made to prevent a similar situation from happening again and that he will take responsibility in this regard.

Austin noted that the President had confidence in him regarding House Member Jim Banks’ statements that he was “surprised that Biden did not ask Austin to resign.”

“It is unacceptable that it took 3 days to brief Biden”

Commenting on the issue, Commission Chairman Mike Rogers said, “It is unacceptable that it took 3 days for the US Secretary of Defense to inform the US President that he was not in command of the Pentagon while he was in the hospital.”

Emphasizing the importance of holding employees accountable for their mistakes in a democratic country, Rogers said, “The chain of command cannot function properly if the commander does not know who to call.”

His illness had sparked controversy

US Defense Minister Austin was hospitalized on February 11 due to an urgent bladder problem, and it was stated that he was transferred to the intensive care unit for close monitoring after tests and evaluations.

In a later statement, it was reported that Austin’s diagnosed bladder problem was intervened with a non-surgical procedure under general anesthesia.

Minister Austin, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December last year, underwent an operation on December 22, 2023 and was hospitalized again on January 1 with extreme pain due to complications that developed after he was discharged.

Austin was admitted to intensive care and stayed in the hospital until January 15, after which he was discharged and continued to work from home until January 29.

Austin’s health condition and hospitalization came to the agenda for the first time with the statement made by the US Department of Defense on January 5, and later it was revealed that senior executives, including President Joe Biden, as well as Pentagon officials and members of Congress, learned days later that Austin was hospitalized.

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