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Austin Expected to Resume Normal Duties Soon Following Recent Hospital Admission

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III remains hospitalized and in good condition following a nonsurgical medical procedure after being admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over the weekend, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said today during a briefing at the Pentagon.

Austin was transported to Walter Reed on Sunday afternoon by his security detail after experiencing symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue and was later admitted to the hospital's critical care unit for supportive care and close monitoring after a series of tests.

A man in military uniform stands at a lectern.
Press Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a media briefing at the Pentagon, Feb. 12, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 240212-D-PM193-3030

Austin underwent "nonsurgical procedures under general anesthesia" to address the bladder issue and is expected to recover fully, officials from Walter Reed said in a statement earlier today. 

"We anticipate a successful recovery and will closely monitor him overnight," said Dr. John Maddox, trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center director, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in a statement this afternoon.  

"A prolonged hospital stay is not anticipated," the statement continued. "We anticipate the Secretary will be able to resume his normal duties tomorrow. The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery." 

Austin underwent surgery in December to treat prostate cancer, which was detected during a regular screening earlier that same month.  

The doctors added that Austin's cancer prognosis "remains excellent." 

Defense officials notified the White House and Congress on Sunday of Austin's medical status. Duties of the secretary were transferred to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. 

"We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available regarding Secretary Austin's status, and we all certainly wish him a speedy recovery," Ryder said during the briefing.


Austin was scheduled to travel to Brussels later this week to attend a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Wednesday followed by a NATO Defense Ministers meeting on Thursday.

Ryder said Austin currently intends to participate in the UDCG, which will be held virtually.  

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. will also participate in the UDCG from Washington.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Celeste Wallander, will be in Brussels for the NATO Defense Ministers meeting, and is "prepared to represent the secretary as required," Ryder said.

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