“Defense Secretary’s Secret Hospitalization Raises Concerns: President Biden and Senior Officials Kept in the Dark”


Defense Deputy Secretary Unaware of Defense Secretary’s Hospitalization

Last week, Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks assumed some of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s duties without knowing that he was in the hospital, according to a senior military official.

Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday due to complications from an elective medical procedure, as revealed by Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder on Friday.

Austin had originally planned to work from home during the first week of January, but the news of his hospitalization was kept under wraps due to “medical and personal privacy issues,” according to Ryder.

President Biden and Senior Officials Kept in the Dark

Not only was Deputy Secretary Hicks unaware of Austin’s hospitalization, but President Biden, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the White House Chief of Staff, other senior White House officials, and the second in command at the Pentagon were also kept out of the loop for several days.

Hicks, who was on vacation in Puerto Rico, only found out about Austin’s hospitalization on Thursday. She immediately planned to issue a press statement and return to Washington, D.C. on Friday, but was informed that Austin would resume his duties instead.

Operational Responsibilities Transferred to Hicks

On January 2, certain operational responsibilities were transferred from Austin to Hicks, according to Ryder. This transfer is a routine occurrence and not necessarily related to health matters. Hicks was fully authorized to support the President on military matters if necessary.

Tensions in the Middle East

The news of Austin’s hospitalization comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East. A U.S. strike in Baghdad killed four members of an Iran-aligned militia group, while two suicide bombs in Iran resulted in the deaths of at least 103 people. Israel also continued its bombardment of Gaza during this period.

Austin’s Current Condition

Austin remains hospitalized at Walter Reed, and there is no information available yet regarding his expected release date. The reason for his hospitalization and the details of the elective procedure are still unclear.


The lack of communication regarding Secretary Austin’s hospitalization has raised concerns about transparency and credibility within the Pentagon. Deputy Secretary Hicks assumed his duties without knowing about his hospitalization, and senior officials including President Biden were also left in the dark. As tensions in the Middle East continue to escalate, it is essential for the Pentagon to maintain open communication and ensure that key officials are aware of important developments.