Senate confirms Lloyd Austin as the nation's first Black defense secretary, the second nominee of President Biden to pass the chamber. Austin's confirmation process wasn't without bumps. Controversy flared over a law barring recently retired military officers from serving as the defense secretary, but top Democrats lined up behind Austin's nomination, citing the need for Biden to have his national security team in place after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The law requires that troops be retired for seven years before taking the post. Ref. USAToday.