Peters Statement on President-elect Biden’s Secretary of Defense Designate

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, today released the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement that he plans to nominate retired General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.

“Our nation faces extraordinary challenges and a series of evolving security threats and we need a steady, experienced leader at the Department of Defense. As we move forward, the Department of Defense will play a critical role in undoing the damage caused by the Trump Administration at the Pentagon, repairing relationships with our allies, and supporting the wide, safe, and effective distribution of Coronavirus vaccines.

“General Lloyd Austin is a historic, barrier-breaking choice, who knows what our servicemembers need to succeed in their missions and would bring extensive experience to the job. While I deeply respect General Austin’s service to our country, I strongly believe in the principle of civilian control of the military. It’s a principle that dates to our nation’s founding and a requirement by law that the head of the Department of Defense must be a civilian or retired from active duty for seven years. Given General Austin would need a waiver from Congress, it’s important General Austin and the incoming Biden Administration explain why he should be granted an exception. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to discussing this issue during the confirmation along with General Austin’s vision for the Department of Defense.”