Jan 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released from hospital

Lloyd Austin speaks into a microphone with an image of the Pentagon behind him and an American flag off to the side.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual meeting on Nov. 22. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been released from the hospital, the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The initial secrecy surrounding Austin's two-week hospitalization has prompted criticism from members of Congress, and President Biden called it a lapse in judgment.

  • "The Secretary continues to recover well and, on the advice of doctors, will recuperate and perform his duties remotely for a period of time before returning full-time to the Pentagon," the Defense Department's statement said.

State of play: Austin was hospitalized on Jan. 1 after experiencing complications from a treatment for prostate cancer.

  • The prognosis for Austin's prostate cancer diagnosis is strong, the Defense Department said.
  • He has no further treatment planned other than regular surveillance.
  • "As I continue to recuperate and perform my duties from home, I'm eager to fully recover and return as quickly as possible to the Pentagon," Austin said in a statement.

Catch up fast: Austin's hospitalization caught many U.S. officials by surprise when it was announced on Jan. 5 -- four days after he was admitted.

  • The backlash over the lack of communication from Austin and the Department of Defense was swift, and some in Congress stated they had lost faith in Austin's ability to perform his duties.
  • Despite the pushback and calls for Austin's resignation, the White House said it has no plans to remove him from his post.
  • Austin later acknowledged he could have done a "better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed."

Go deeper: Biden: Austin had lapse in judgment by not disclosing hospitalization

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