Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday officially named retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as his nominee to be Secretary of Defense.

News first broke on Monday night that Biden would pick Austin to be the nation’s first Black Defense Secretary.

“Gen. Austin shares my profound belief that our nation is at its strongest when we lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Biden said in a statement quoted by The Hill.

“Throughout his lifetime of dedicated service — and in the many hours we’ve spent together in the White House Situation Room and with our troops overseas — Gen. Austin has demonstrated exemplary leadership, character and command,” Biden added.

“He is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges and crises we face in the current moment, and I look forward to once again working closely with him as a trusted partner to lead our military with dignity and resolve, revitalize our alliances in the face of global threats, and ensure the safety and security of the American people,” Biden said.

Austin retired from the military in 2016 after serving as the commander of US Central Command since 2013.

He also served time as commanding US general in Iraq and as the vice chief of the staff of the Army.

Austin must be confirmed by Congress but the law requires Defense Secretaries to be out of the military for at least seven years, meaning Congress would have to pass a waiver to allow Austin to take the job.

Lawmakers approved a waiver in 2017 in order to allow James Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary, but warned at the time they would be disinclined to do so again, noted The Hill.