Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Sunday afternoon following symptoms of an “emerging bladder problem,” according to the Pentagon. He has since transferred his duties to his deputy.
“Today, at approximately 2:20 p.m., Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was transported by his security detail to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be examined for symptoms suggestive of an emerging bladder problem,” the statement said. Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
Ryder initially announced that Austin would retain his duties as secretary of defense during his hospital stay. However, Ryder said Sunday evening that Austin had “transferred the functions and duties of the office” to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
The initial statement said Hicks, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House and Congress, had been briefed.
A White House official confirmed Sunday evening that the Office of the Secretary of Defense had informed the White House and the National Security Council of Austin’s hospitalization. The official directed further questions about Austin’s health to the Pentagon.
Earlier this year, Austin was hospitalized for two weeks following complications from prostate cancer treatment. He returned to work in person at the Pentagonand at a press conference he said he was still recovering.
Austin is scheduled to travel to a meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group in Brussels, Belgium, this week in what will be his first trip abroad since his initial hospitalization.