Lloyd Austin
Lloyd AustinREUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will undergo a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening and will transfer power temporarily to his deputy, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

Austin is continuing to deal with bladder issues that arose in December following his treatment for prostate cancer, Ryder said.

The procedure is elective and minimally invasive, “is not related to his cancer diagnosis and has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis,” the press secretary said.

Austin will transfer authority to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks while he is indisposed, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon has notified the White House and Congress, Ryder stated.

Ausin was hospitalized in January in order to undergo treatment for cancer. The Secretary of Defense came under fire for that hospitalization, as the Pentagon kept it not just from the public, but also from the White House – including President Joe Biden himself – and Congress.

In addition, it was reported that, when Hicks began assuming some of Austin’s responsibilities on January 2, not even she knew that it was because Austin was hospitalized.

While Austin entered the hospital on January 1, he did not inform the White House or Hicks of the situation until January 4.

Congress and the public, meanwhile, did not learn Austin had been hospitalized until January 5, drawing sharp criticism from lawmakers and the press.

The Pentagon in February released the results of a 30-day review that found no attempt to hide Austin’s secret hospitalizations.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)