Transition Highlights: Biden Plans to Pick Lloyd Austin, Former Iraq Commander, for


Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III during a Senate hearing on military operations to counter the Islamic State in 2015.
Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to nominate retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a former commander of the American military effort in Iraq, to be the next secretary of defense, according to two people with knowledge of the selection.

If confirmed by the Senate, General Austin would make history as the first African-American to lead the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and the enormous bureaucracy that backs them up.

General Austin, 67, was for years a formidable figure at the Pentagon, and is the only African-American to have headed U.S. Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria — most of the places where the United States is at war.

General Austin is known as a strong battlefield commander but is less known for his political instincts. He has sometimes stumbled in congressional hearings, including a session in 2015 when he acknowledged, under testy questioning, that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters had gone nowhere.

Still, General Austin, who retired as a four-star general in 2016 after 41 years in the military, is respected in the Army, especially among African-American officers and enlisted soldiers, as one of the rare Black men to crack the glass ceiling that has kept the upper ranks of the military largely the domain of white men.

Supporters of General Austin say he broke through that barrier because of his intellect, his command experience and the mentorship of a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who plucked him to run the staff of the Joint Chiefs’ office.

Shortly after the election, General Austin took part in an online session that Mr. Biden had with former national security officials. His selection was reported earlier by Politico.

In choosing General Austin, Mr. Biden bypassed Michèle A. Flournoy, a former top Obama administration Defense Department official, who would have been the first woman in the job.

Like Jim Mattis, who was President Trump’s first defense secretary, General Austin would have to get a congressional waiver to serve, since he has been out of the military for only four years and American law requires a seven-year waiting period between active duty and becoming Pentagon chief.

General Austin is a graduate of the United States Military Academy. He and his wife, Charlene, have been married for 40 years.

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‘The Results Remain Unchanged’: Georgia to Recertify Election Results

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the state would recertify its presidential election results after a second recount reaffirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump.

It’s been a long 34 days since the election on Nov. 3. We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged. Today, the secretary of state’s office will be recertifying our state’s election results. Then the safe harbor under the United States code to name electors is tomorrow, and then they will meet on Dec. 14 to officially elect the next president. The vast majority of Georgians — Republicans and Democrats — want us, all of us, as elected officials to focus on protecting and growing Georgia jobs, getting the vaccine out as efficiently as possible and getting back to normal. The focus on Nov. 3 is drawing energy away from those goals. The president has his due process rights and those are available to him. It’s time we all focus on the future and growth. I know there are people that are convinced the election was fraught with problems, but the evidence, the actual evidence, the facts tell us a different story.

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the state would recertify its presidential election results after a second recount reaffirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump.CreditCredit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

ATLANTA — Georgia’s secretary of state Monday recertified the results of the state’s presidential race after another recount reaffirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump, the third time that results showed that Mr. Trump had lost the state.

The announcement delivered an important punctuation mark to a tumultuous postelection campaign in the state by Mr. Trump and his allies to subvert the outcome of the election there, which caused infighting and name-calling among some Republicans.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Monday morning. The results of the machine recount on the secretary of state’s website show Mr. Biden with a lead of about 12,000 votes.

Mr. Raffensperger’s announcement…



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