U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Virginia for a bladder problem, and has transferred duties to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks. The Pentagon announced this, adding that it is not yet clear how long she will remain in hospital.
In December, Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery. However, her secret hospitalization raised controversy in the U.S., even being kept hidden from President Joe Biden initially. On January 1st, Austin was hospitalized again due to complications from her previous surgery.
The transfer of duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks comes as Austin continues to receive medical attention for her health issues. The Pentagon did not provide a specific timeline for when she will be discharged from the hospital.