Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized again, duties transferred to deputy sec: Pentagon

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized again at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Pentagon announced Sunday, and that his duties had been transferred to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

He was taken to the hospital early in the afternoon for symptoms suggesting an "emergent bladder issue," the Pentagon’s statement said


U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Austin was hospitalized last month and made headlines for failing to quickly notify the president and other senior leaders.

His hospitalization was following a prostate cancer diagnosis in early December, which had not been made known. 

He had a procedure called a prostatectomy on Dec. 22 and was hospitalized on January 1, when he began suffering complications from the procedure. His hospitalization was not made known until five days later, and he remained at the hospital until Jan. 15. 

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That secrecy has become the subject of an inspector general investigation and a Pentagon internal review. He has previously said he never instructed his staff to keep his hospitalization a secret.

Meanwhile, his doctors have previously said his prognosis against the cancer is "excellent" and that no further treatments will be needed.

Austin was scheduled to depart Tuesday for Brussels to hold a meeting of the Ukraine contact group, which he established in 2022 to coordinate military support for Kyiv after Russia's invasion. After that, Austin was scheduled to attend a regular meeting of NATO defense ministers.

It was not immediately clear if his hospitalization would change those plans.

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.