Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was on vacation in Puerto Rico.
Is this an outrage or a perfect metaphor for this administration in which no one is in the driver’s seat? Sometimes literally.
Amid tensions in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was hospitalized, including spending four days in the intensive care unit, according to two senior administration officials.
The Pentagon did not inform senior officials in the White House’s National Security Council of Austin’s hospitalization until Thursday — three days after he arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center, a U.S. official confirms. Politico first reported the delay.
Austin is 70. There was a time when Donald Rumsfeld was considered on the old side, but his first time on the job, he had been in his 40s. Dick Cheney was actually in his late 40s during the Reagan administration, Bill Cohen was in his late 50s and Bob McNamara was in his forties.
But by the standards of the Biden administration, Austin is ‘the kid’. Still an administration with a lot of people past retirement age should probably be more prepared for medical emergencies by senior staff.
Since Austin is 11 years younger than Joe Biden, they probably figured there was nothing to worry about. But spending 4 days in the ICU is not a joke. This suggests something serious was going on.
And so no one was running the Pentagon while we were clashing with Iran’s Houthi-backed Jihadis.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, who was on leave, has picked up his duties, the senior defense official said.
Hicks was on pre-scheduled leave when Austin was hospitalized this week, according to a defense official. She has been on vacation in Puerto Rico, the official said.
She “has maintained full communication with the DOD staff throughout,” the official said. “She has monitored DOD’s day-to-day operations and conducted some routine business.”
Austin’s number two was on vacation (and no one told her to scrap her vacation because your boss, who is a rather vital figure, is undergoing surgery, and you should probably stay home.
And even afterward, she “maintained full communications” while on vacation.
This is the sort of nonsense we’d have expected from a fourth-rate European NATO member country twenty years ago where nothing really matters anyway and the military just exists to occasionally show up at parades.
I don’t even understand this insane level of ineptitude and disregard for basic protocol. But then again I also don’t understand how national security secrets keep being leaked by guys arguing on video game forums.
(By the way if you want to know what Kathleen’s qualifications are to head the Pentagon, don’t ask. It will only depress you further.
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