Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin undergoes a “non-surgical procedure” and hands over duties to the deputy

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will undergo proceedings related to the bladder problem That was the reason for his hospitalization earlier this year, the Ministry of Defense said Friday afternoon.

The department called it a “planned, elective and minimally invasive” nonsurgical procedure that will take place later Friday at Walter Reed Medical Center, according to a statement from Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

Austin will temporarily transfer his duties to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks, the department said.

The defense chief has had several health problems in recent months after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December, which required treatment. Austin had his prostate removed on December 22, but on January 1, days after returning home, he was taken to Walter Reed after experiencing “severe abdominal, leg and hip pain.”

After being transferred to the intensive care unit, some operational responsibilities were transferred to Hicks, his deputy. But it wasn't until days later, on January 4, that the White House was notified of Austin's hospitalization.

Austin spent two weeks at Walter Reed and was released in mid-January. But the delay in notifying the White House, Congress and the public of his hospitalization and prostate cancer diagnosis brought criticism of legislators.

Austin was Hospitalized for two days in mid-February following symptoms of an “emerging bladder problem” and turned the duties over to Hicks. They, the White House, Congress and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were informed of his hospital stay.

The defense secretary's bladder problem was related to his prostate cancer surgery in December, his doctors said.

Austin testified before the House Armed Services Committee in late February, telling lawmakers he “did not handle the situation properly.” a Pentagon review found that there was no 'malicious intent or attempt to cover it up', but that the recognized processes for transferring the responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense during an emergency needed to be improved.

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