Lloyd Austin
Lloyd AustinReuters

Both chambers of Congress on Thursday approved a waiver to permit retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Secretary of Defense in the Biden administration, CNN reports.

Austin, who would be the first African American to run the department, had to be granted a waiver from a law requiring a Defense Secretary to wait seven years after active-duty service before taking the job.

The House passed the waiver Thursday afternoon, followed by Senate approval of the measure.

The waiver has only been approved twice before in history, including for James Mattis to run President Donald Trump's Pentagon in 2017.

Austin must, in effect, to win two votes: one from both chambers of Congress to grant the waiver and another from the Senate to confirm him for the position.

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.

At a confirmation hearing earlier this week, Austin said that Iran posed a threat to American allies in the region and forces stationed there.

“Iran continues to be a destabilizing element in the region. It does present a threat to our partners in the region and those forces that we have stationed in the region,” Austin stated.

“If Iran were ever to get a nuclear capability, most every problem we deal with in the region would be tougher to deal with because of that,” he warned.