Defense Secretary Austin’s health secrecy sparks controversy! Read to know

United States: The Pentagon’s internal watchdog said Thursday that he will investigate the secrecy surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s illness and why the Defense Department took days to notify the White House that he had handed responsibility to his deputy.

Privacy Backlashes

Associated Press reported that Austin, 70, is currently in the hospital receiving treatment for complications from prostate cancer surgery. 

Inspector General Robert P. Storch stated in a memorandum to Austin and other top officials that his probe will “examine the roles, processes, procedures, responsibilities, and actions” associated with his hospitalization.

He said he will review if the Pentagon policies and processes “are sufficient to ensure timely and appropriate notifications and the effective transition of authorities as may be warranted due to health-based or other unavailability of senior leadership.”

Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on December 22 and underwent surgery to address the cancer, which was discovered earlier that month during a routine test. A week later, he became ill with an infection and was brought to intensive care on January 1.

On January 4, President Joe Biden and key government officials were not informed of Austin’s illness until, and Austin kept his cancer diagnosis a secret until Tuesday.

The secrecy surrounding Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s hospitalizations for prostate cancer surgery sparked a political maelstrom, resulting in various reviews and calls for his resignation.

National Security Concerns

According to the Associated Press, Austin, being a member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet, sacrifices some personal privacy, a senior national security adviser, and a watchdog over the country’s nuclear arsenal. He must be prepared to act at a moment’s notice if the United States is attacked, and he must be able to make a variety of quick, important decisions regarding troop deployment or the employment of America’s military force anywhere in the globe.

Despite transferring important decision-making authority to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks during surgery and the early stages of his current hospital stay, he did not explain why. He also did not inform Biden, other US government leaders, or his senior staff about his surgery, diagnosis, or being brought to the hospital by ambulance until several days later.

Does Austin have less privacy?

Austin’s omission to disclose his hospitalization, as well as the fact that he delegated decision-making to his deputy for days before informing the president, violates standard procedure. When the president or other Cabinet members are incapacitated or have major health difficulties, they usually make this known. Doctors for both the present and previous presidents have routinely held public conferences about medical check-ups.