New U.S. Defense Secretary has roots along Alabama’s Gulf coast

Jan 26, 2021

President Joe Biden isn’t the only person in favor of having General Lloyd Austin lead the Defense Department. Mobile’s Republican Congressman Jerry Carl said the Alabama Gulf Coast native is a good choice to run America’s military.

“I'm excited,” Mobile area Congressman Jerry Carl said. “General Austin, he is a Mobile native. He is an Auburn graduate, West Point graduate. He is the top of his class as far as military is concerned. I believe he will work pushing back against the far left's attempt to cut military, which we feel like that's coming.”

The retired four star General became the first African American Defense Secretary in U.S. history. The Senate approved Austin to lead the Pentagon by a nearly unanimous vote of 93 to 2 last Friday.

Carl said he’s gratified to see a Mobile native leading the military, but he has reservations on how the vote was pushed through.

“I voted for it,” Carl said. “That's very obvious, but my only negative about him taking this position is the way the Democratic Party actually handled it. My only problem is like so many of things that we've seen with this new administration, they're trying to push everything through in a hurry and the process, it should have gone through the House Armed Services Committee and they had it on the books to deal with it and address it.”

One main question raised in Congress was that Austin had not met the requirement that he be a civilian for at least seven years. The National Security Act of 1947 included that rule to ensure civilian control of the U.S. military. It also allows for a waiver if members of the U.S. House and Senate approve.