Senate confirms Lloyd Austin to be first Black defense secretary

The Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin to be the new Defense secretary on Friday, making the retired Army general the first Black person to run the Pentagon.

The Senate confirmed Austin in a near-unanimous 93 to 2 vote. Republican Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri were the only two no votes.

Austin is a former four-star Army general who served in the military for 41 years before retiring in 2016. He was the commander of the U.S. Central Command, where he helped lead the effort to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

“The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces. The subordination of military power to the civil,” Austin, 67, said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Austin tweeted a picture of himself and Biden after the confirmation vote.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as our country’s 28th Secretary of Defense, and I’m especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position,” Austin wrote. “Let’s get to work.”