During a routine checkup, US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin was admitted to hospital for an urgent bladder problem. The incident sparked controversy due to his previous hospitalizations and the fact that he had kept his prostate cancer diagnosis a secret from President Joe Biden. After being admitted to intensive care, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks took over as head of the Pentagon. Doctors stated that the bladder problem should not affect his expected full recovery and that his prognosis for cancer remained excellent.
Lloyd Austin’s discretion in handling his health issues was attributed to his desire to avoid the limelight and maintain a reputation as a largely apolitical public servant who is comfortable with American troops. However, the controversy over his health problems arose while the US was closely following major conflicts in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and as US forces in Iraq and Syria were being targeted by attacks by Iranian-backed fighters. Despite calls for his resignation, Biden maintained his confidence in him and acknowledged that there was no vacancy of power or risk for the command and control of the ministry.
Lloyd Austin apologized for not informing President Biden about his diagnosis, stating that it was a mistake. The matter came to light after he underwent surgery for prostate cancer earlier this year, which he had kept hidden from public view until now. Despite facing criticism, Lloyd Austin remains committed to continuing his duties as Defense Minister and supporting US military efforts around the world.