US defense secretary to undergo ‘non-surgical procedure’: Pentagon

During the procedure, Austin will transfer his duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks who will serve as the acting defense secretary.

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The Pentagon said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would temporarily be unable to perform his duties on Friday as he undergoes a non-surgical procedure.

“Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will undergo a scheduled, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure related to his previously reported bladder issue at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later this evening,” Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.

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During the procedure, Austin will transfer his duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who will serve as the acting defense secretary.

Ryder said the bladder issue was not related to Austin’s cancer diagnosis and had not had any impact on his “excellent cancer prognosis.”

White House and congressional notifications have occurred, Ryder said. When Austin was hospitalized in January after surgery the month before to treat prostate cancer, he faced heavy criticism for not publicizing his situation or notifying lawmakers and officials, including the president. Austin acknowledged his mistakes and committed to being more transparent.

Read more: Pentagon chief scraps Brussels trip for Ukraine meeting after hospitalization

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