The Pentagon announced Sunday evening that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin transferred power to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks hours after being hospitalized Sunday afternoon with suspected bladder issues. The Pentagon had initially said Austin was retaining the powers of SecDef in an earlier statement.
Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland on Sunday by his security detail.
Austin is suffering complications from surgery for prostate cancer that put him in the hospital for several weeks starting in late December. Austin kept his illness and hospitalization secret from Joe Biden, much of his staff and the public, prompting calls for his resignation. When Austin returned to the Pentagon in late January he had a noticeable limp.
Secretary Austin spoke to reporters about his hospitalization on February 1, 2024, file screen image.