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DOD second in command told of Austin’s hospitalization 2 days after taking over some of his duties

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The Pentagon’s second in command, Protection Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, was unaware that Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin was within the hospital when she assumed a few of his duties early final week, based on a senior army official.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder revealed in an announcement on Friday that Austin was admitted to Walter Reed Nationwide Navy Medical Heart final Monday, following problems with an elective medical process.

A senior protection official advised Fox Information that Austin initially meant to make money working from home in the course of the first week of January.

The press was not advised of the information for days due to “medical and private privateness points,” Ryder famous.

PENTAGON FACING BACKLASH OVER FAILING TO DISCLOSE SEC. AUSTIN’S ILLNESS: ‘HARMS CREDIBILITY’

Secretary Lloyd Austin

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin participates in a gathering with Italian Protection Minister Guido Crosetto on the Pentagon on June 23, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Photos)

Additionally saved out of the loop for days have been President Biden, Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan, the White Home Chief of Employees, different senior White Home officers and the second in command on the Pentagon.

Hicks, who was on a beforehand scheduled trip in Puerto Rico was not advised Austin had been hospitalized till Thursday. As quickly as she discovered her senior was hospitalized, she deliberate to place out a press assertion and return to Washington, D.C. on Friday, a senior U.S. protection officers confirmed with Fox Information. Regardless of her plans, Hicks was advised Austin would resume his duties on Friday.

Though Hicks was advised of Austin’s hospitalization on Thursday, Ryder mentioned, “sure operational duties” have been transferred to her on Jan. 2.

DEFENSE SECRETARY AUSTIN HOSPITALIZED FOLLOWING SURGERY COMPLICATIONS

DOD second in command

U.S. Deputy Protection Secretary Kathleen Hicks speaks throughout a September eleventh Pentagon Employees Memorial Observance ceremony on the Pentagon courtyard on September 8, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia.  (Alex Wong/Getty Photos)

“On the afternoon of January 2, the Secretary of Protection transferred to the Deputy Secretary of Protection sure operational obligations that require fixed safe communications capabilities,” Ryder mentioned. “This switch happens from time-to-time and isn’t tied mainly to health-related issues. The deputy secretary retains an entire suite of communications and succesful workers together with her always, no matter geographic location.”

A senior protection official added that Hicks instantly advised workers to draft the general public assertion and congressional outreach.

“Deputy Secretary Hicks made some routine operational and administration selections for the Division over this era and was absolutely licensed and able to help the President on different army issues, ought to the necessity have risen,” the senior protection official mentioned.

GOP SENATORS OUTRAGED OVER ‘SHOCKING BREAKDOWN’ RELATED TO DEFENSE SEC LLOYD AUSTIN’S SECRET HOSPITALIZATION

The Pentagon

The Pentagon is seen from a flight taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport in Arlington, Virginia.  (Alex Wong/Getty Photos)

The information got here as tensions remained heightened within the Center East when a U.S. strike killed 4 members of an Iran-aligned militia group in Baghdad and two suicide bombs in Iran left at the least 103 individuals useless. Israel additionally continued its bombardment of Gaza whereas Austin was hospitalized.

Stars and Stripes reported Austin remained hospitalized on Saturday.

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It’s nonetheless unclear why Austin was hospitalized within the first place, or what the elective process was or when it occurred.

Fox Information’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.

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