Defense Secretary Austin resumes duty after medical procedure at Walter Reed

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin smiles after members of the media are asked to leave following a meeting with Kenya's President William Ruto at the Pentagon in Washington, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III at the Pentagon, where he met with Kenya's President William Ruto on Friday before leaving for the hospital. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III underwent a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening and and has resumed duty after transfering power to his deputy temporarily, the Pentagon's press secretary said in a statement.

Austin is continuing to deal with bladder issues that arose in December following his treatment for prostate cancer, said Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

The procedure was successful, elective, minimally invasive and was “not related to his cancer diagnosis and has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis,” the press secretary said.

Austin transferred authority to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks for about 2½ hours, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon chief returned home after the procedure. “No changes in his official schedule are anticipated at this time, to include his participation in scheduled Memorial Day events,” Ryder said.

Austin, 70, has had health issues since his surgery for prostate cancer.

He spent two weeks in the hospital due to complications from a prostatectomy, and faced criticism at the time for not immediately informing President Biden or Congress of his diagnosis or hospitalization.

Austin was taken back to Walter Reed for a bladder issue in February, when he was admitted to intensive care for a second time and received nonsurgical treatment under general anesthesia.

The Pentagon notified the White House and Congress before Friday's procedure, Ryder said.

Copp writes for the Associated Press.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.