Washington, December 8: US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday selected retired Army General Lloyd Austin, former commander of US Central Command, to be his Secretary of Defense, a source familiar with the decision informed CNN.

If confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first Black man to lead the Department of Defense. Also Read | Joe Biden Picks Black Ex-General Lloyd Austin to Lead Pentagon As Defense Secretary.

In addition to serving as commander of United States Central Command, Austin previously served as the vice chief of staff of the Army, reported CNN. Austin now requires a congressional waiver to be confirmed for the post as he retired from active-duty service only four years ago, while the federal law requires seven years of retirement from active duty before taking on the role. Also Read | Essential Workers, Who Risked Their Lives During COVID-19 Pandemic, Win TIME’s 2020 Person of the Year Reader Poll.

CNN had earlier reported that Austin was among three final contenders for the role. Michele Flournoy, a veteran Pentagon official who served as under secretary of defense for policy in President Barack Obama's administration, and Jeh Johnson, a former secretary of Homeland security, were also under consideration.

Austin's nomination as the first Black Defense Secretary comes as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is set to become the first black vice president of the US. Last month, the Biden-Harris transition team had announced the members of the economic team and the senior White House communication team.

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