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Previous story Biden picks retired general Lloyd Austin to run Pentagon Next story

STORY BY LARA SELIGMAN, TYLER PAGER, CONNOR O’BRIEN AND NATASHA

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Published on December 8, 2020 2:22 AM

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The Biden team sees Gen. Lloyd Austin as the safe choice. | AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
"General Austin is a southerner, has impeccable credentials given his military career and would be an outstanding secretary for the department," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a CBC member who is close to Biden, told POLITICO earlier Monday.

A person familiar with Biden's decision said the president-elect chose Austin because he is crisis-tested and respected across the military. Biden also trusts Austin, as they worked together when Biden served as vice president and had a large foreign policy portfolio.

Austin, who also ran U.S. Central Command before retiring in 2016, emerged as a top-tier candidate in recent days after initially being viewed as a longshot for the job. Michèle Flournoy, Obama's former Pentagon policy chief, was initially viewed as the frontrunner, but her name was notably absent from Biden's rollout of key members of his national security team two weeks ago.