CNN – Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been admitted into the critical care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and it is “not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized,” according to a statement released Sunday night from officials at the hospital.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks assumed the functions and duties of the top spot at the Pentagon shortly before 5 p.m., Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.
The White House, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and Congress have been notified.
Lloyd was taken to Walter Reed around 2:20 p.m., Ryder said.
Austin traveled to the hospital with unclassified and classified communications systems that are required for his duties.
“The rapid notification of Austin’s visit to the hospital – the first statement from the Pentagon was released within three hours – came after the defense secretary acknowledged failures in notifying the administration and the public about his previous hospitalization.”
Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and underwent a procedure to treat the cancer on December 22.
That procedure required general anesthesia and an overnight stay at Walter Reed.
He then returned to the hospital on New Year’s Day after suffering from complications as a result of the procedure.
Austin’s unannounced hospitalization, which was not disclosed to the media or President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials for days, raised major questions about transparency …