Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Stepping Down

First lady Jill Biden, left, and President Joe Biden walk past Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the casualty return for U.S. Army Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga., U.S. Army Sgt. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga., and U.S. Army Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s chief of staff, Kelly Magsamen, will step down at the end of June.

Magsamen was a key figure in the January hospitalization scandal involving Austin and members of his staff.

Austin confirmed she would step down in a statement but did not elaborate on why. The Pentagon chief praised Magsamen for “tremendous service over three and a half pivotal years” as his chief of staff.

“Kelly has been at my side since the start of my tenure as Secretary of Defense. She has been the chief architect of every initiative I have launched to defend our nation, take care of our people, and succeed through teamwork,” Austin said, noting she was instrumental in efforts to improve quality of life for service members and address the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Austin, who has prostate cancer, was hospitalized Jan. 1, but he and his staff did not inform President Biden and White House staff of the hospitalization until three days later.

According to the Pentagon, Magsamen was out sick at the time of Austin’s hospitalization and staffing was sparse, leading to a delay in notification.

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