Pentagon: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undergoes successful procedure

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - MAY 20: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin holds a joint press conference following a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at the Pentagon on May 20, 2024 in Arlington, Virginia. The Ukraine Defense Contact Group is an group of 56 countries and the European Union that provides Ukraine with military aid and other strategic cooperation in response to the 2022 Russian invasion. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin underwent a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday evening.

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Update 9:50 p.m. ET May 24: Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that around 6 p.m. EST, Austin “underwent a successful, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure related to his bladder issue at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.”

The procedure lasted about two and a half hours at which Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was transferred powers. Ryder said that Austin resumed his duties as of 8:25 p.m. EST. Austin is back home, as well.

He is also expected to participate in scheduled Memorial Day events, Ryder said.

Original story: Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement that Austin will be having an “elective and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure related to his previously reported bladder issue at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.”

Austin will be transferring power temporarily to his deputy, Ryder said, according to The Associated Press reported. That will be Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks.

Ryder said the procedure is not related to his cancer diagnosis. It is for a bladder issue that he suffered after he had surgery last year to treat prostate cancer, CNN reported.

Ryder said that Congress and the White House have been notified.

Friday’s procedure notification comes after Austin had two surgeries at Walter Reed back in December and January. He reportedly did so without telling President Biden, his deputy or members of the public, CNN reported. Austin later said that he should have shared information about his hospitalizations.

“I want to be crystal clear: We did not handle this right. And I did not handle this right. I should have told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public, and I take full responsibility,” Austin said in February, according to CNN. “I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”

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