Updated Feb 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Austin to resume duties Tuesday after 2nd hospitalization this year

 US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a press conference at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2024.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., earlier this month. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will resume his "normal duties" on Tuesday following his recent hospitalization for a bladder issue, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The latest: Austin underwent non-surgical procedures under anesthesia on Monday to address the bladder issue, officials with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said Monday.

  • Austin is expected to make a "successful recovery" and is not expected to have a long hospital stay, the statement added.
  • "We anticipate the Secretary will be able to resume his normal duties tomorrow."
  • The Defense Department said Monday Austin will not travel to Brussels later this week for meetings on NATO and Ukraine's defense against Russia's invasion.

Catch up quick: Officials with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center said on Sunday Austin is expected to make a full recovery after being admitted into a critical care unit for "symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue."

  • "At this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized," the statement added. "His cancer prognosis remains excellent."

The big picture: Austin was released from the hospital less than a month ago following complications from a treatment for prostate cancer.

State of play: Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement Sunday that Austin was taken to the hospital around 2:20pm Sunday over the potential bladder issue and was at the time "retaining the functions and duties of his office."

  • Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were notified and "White House and Congressional notifications have occurred," Ryder said.
  • "Secretary Austin traveled to the hospital with the unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties," he added.
  • Austin transferred functions and duties to Hicks just before 5pm ET, per a later statement from Ryder.

Go deeper: Defense Secretary Austin admits "we fell short" on hospitalization

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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