Robert J. Wittman

01/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/21/2021 15:47

Wittman backs waiver to advance Austin confirmation as SecDef

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, supported passage of legislation allowing retired Army General Lloyd Austin to be confirmed as the 28th Secretary of Defense.

'As with the nomination of Secretary Mattis in 2017,' Congressman Wittman said, 'Today I was proud to support the waiver to allow General Austin to be confirmed. The consideration of quality candidates for vital positions such as Secretary of Defense is critical for the success of our military members around the globe. I've had the chance to discuss with General Austin my priorities and concerns to ensure we continue to meet the China threat and adequately support a stronger and larger Navy and Marine Corps. I know that General Austin will do his utmost in support of our warfighters, and I look forward to working with him in the coming years to ensure that we continue to meet the threats and challenges facing our nation with absolute resolve and continued vigor.'

General Austin served for 41 years with the United States Army, becoming the commander of CENTCOM in 2013 and was engaged in the fight against ISIS. He retired from active duty service in 2016. Pending confirmation by the Senate, General Austin will become the first African American Secretary of Defense.

The vote today was to authorize a limited waiver and exception to the National Security Act of 1947 permitting General Lloyd's confirmation. Under current law, a person cannot be appointed Secretary of Defense having left active duty military service within seven years. General Austin retired in 2016.

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.