|Intro||United States Army general|
|A.K.A.||Lloyd James Austin III|
|Is||Military officer Military personnel|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||8 August 1953, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA|
Lloyd James Austin III (born August 8, 1953) is an American retired four-star general. An Army officer, he served as the 12th commander of United States Central Command (CENTCOM). Austin was the first Black commander of CENTCOM.
Before CENTCOM, Austin was the 33rd vice chief of staff of the United States Army from January 31, 2012, to March 22, 2013, and the final commanding general of United States Forces – Iraq Operation New Dawn, which ended on December 18, 2011. He retired from the armed services in 2016.
On December 7, 2020, it was reported that Austin would be nominated to serve as Secretary of Defense in the Biden administration.
Early life and education
Austin was born on August 8, 1953, in Mobile, Alabama and raised in Thomasville, Georgia. He graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) with a Bachelor of Science degree in June 1975. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in counselor education from Auburn University's College of Education in 1986, and a Master of Business Administration in business management from Webster University in 1989. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College.
Austin was commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduation from West Point. His initial assignment was to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany where he served as a rifle platoon leader in A Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry and Scout Platoon Leader in the Combat Support Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry. Following this assignment and attendance at the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he commanded the Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry and served as the Assistant S-3 (Operations) for 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.
In 1981, Austin was assigned to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he was the operations officer for the U.S. Army Indianapolis District Recruiting Command and later commanded a company in the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion. Upon completing this assignment, he attended Auburn University, where he completed studies for a master's degree in education. He was then assigned to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he served as a company tactical officer. After his selection and subsequent completion of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York, where he served as the S-3 (Operations) and later executive officer for the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry. He subsequently served as Executive Officer for 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and later as Director of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security for Fort Drum, New York.
In 1993, Austin returned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He later served as the G-3 for the 82nd Airborne Division. Following graduation from the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, he commanded the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Shortly after Brigade command, he was assigned to The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he served as Chief, Joint Operations Division, J-3, on the Joint Staff. His next assignment was as Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia. As the ADC-M, he helped spearhead the division's invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Austin served from September 2003 until August 2005 as the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), with duty as Commander, Combined Joint Task Force 180, during the War in Afghanistan. His next position was chief of staff of the United States Central Command at MacDill AFB, in Tampa, Florida, from September 2005 until October 2006.
On December 8, 2006, Austin was promoted to lieutenant general, and assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Austin handed over command of XVIII Corps to become Director of the Joint Staff in August 2009.
In February 2008, Austin became the second highest ranking commander in Iraq, taking command of the Multi-National Corps – Iraq (MNC-I). As commander of MNC-I, he directed the operations of approximately 152,000 joint and coalition forces in all sectors of Iraq.
Commanding General of U.S. Forces – Iraq
On September 1, 2010, Austin became Commanding General (CG) of U.S. Forces – Iraq (USF-I) at a ceremony at the al-Faw palace in Baghdad, Iraq. He took over from General Ray Odierno. As CG, USF-I, Austin served as the senior U.S. military commander in charge of all U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq. Their mission was to advise, train, assist, and equip the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). As commander, Austin requested an additional troop presence in Iraq from 14,000 to 18,000.
Austin oversaw the transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom and combat operations to Operation New Dawn and stability operations focused on advising, assisting, and training the ISF. He directed the drawdown of forces and the redeployment of approximately 50,000 U.S. servicemembers. Austin, along with other members of the USF-I staff, departed Iraq on December 18, 2011.
Army Vice Chief of Staff
In December 2011, Austin was nominated to become Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He took office on January 31, 2012. As VCSA, he managed the day-to-day administration of the U.S. Army's headquarters staff and the Army budget. Under his direction, the Army took steps to reduce the incidence of suicide in the ranks. Austin also led the Army's initiative to increase awareness and improve treatment options for the "invisible wounds" of war, namely post-traumatic stress and mild traumatic brain injury. In that capacity, Austin supervised a review of the psychiatric treatment of personnel assessed for disability by the Army.
United States Central Command
On December 6, 2012, the Pentagon announced that President Barack Obama had nominated Austin to lead the United States Central Command (CENTCOM). On March 22, 2013, he became the commander of CENTCOM.
As commander, after ISIL seized control of Mosul in June 2014, Austin oversaw the development and execution of the military campaign plan to counter ISIL in Iraq and Syria.
Austin's retirement ceremony took place at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall on April 5, 2016.
In 2016, Austin joined the board of Raytheon Technologies, a military contractor. On September 18, 2017, Austin was appointed to Nucor's board of directors. On May 29, 2018, Austin was appointed as an independent director on the board of Tenet Healthcare. He also operates a consulting firm.
Biden administration: Secretary of Defense nomination
On November 27, 2020, Axios reported that Austin was under consideration by the Biden-Harris transition team for the role of secretary of defense in the incoming administration. Austin was also a transition advisor on national security matters. On December 7, 2020, it was reported that President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Austin as secretary of defense. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black American in a leadership role at the Pentagon. Biden became acquainted with Austin while Austin was the Commander of USF-I from 2010-2011 through weekly video teleconferences and 3 visits to the country; he reportedly grew to trust Austin after receiving Austin's briefings both from Iraq and CENTCOM. Like former defense secretary James Mattis, Austin will need a congressional waiver of the National Security Act of 1947 to bypass the seven-year waiting period after leaving active-duty military, as prescribed by 10 U.S.C. § 113(a), in order to be appointed as secretary of defense.