US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin returns to Pentagon following undisclosed hospitalization.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has returned to work at the Pentagon after a secret hospital stay for complications from cancer treatment, which he failed to disclose to President Biden and Congress initially. Austin’s return coincides with a deadly attack on American troops in the Middle East. He is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The Defense Department confirmed Austin’s return in a statement, mentioning that he had been working from home since his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 15, 2024. The 70-year-old soldier underwent minor surgery for prostate cancer on December 22 but was readmitted due to complications on January 1. The White House and Congress were informed of his hospitalization on January 4 and 5 respectively, while President Biden learned of the cancer diagnosis on January 9. Austin recently made his first public appearance since the hospitalization, speaking via videolink for a meeting on aid for Ukraine. Despite calls for his dismissal from Republican lawmakers, President Biden expressed confidence in his defense secretary, acknowledging the lapse in judgment.

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