US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized Sunday afternoon with bladder problems, according to a statement from a Pentagon spokesman.
Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Austin will continue to serve in his office for the time being, but Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks is ready to step in if needed.
Austin’s security detail took him to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he maintains “unclassified and classified communications systems necessary to perform his duties,” Ryder said.
Hicks and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Charles Brown, briefed the White House and Congress on his condition.
Austin underwent minimally invasive surgery for prostate cancer in December. He later revealed that he spent several days in the hospital because the procedure resulted in a bladder infection and abdominal problems.
Earlier this month, he publicly he apologized for his delay in notifying the White House of his hospitalization. He added that the Pentagon has implemented new procedures to ensure timely warning in the future.
“I learned from this experience that starting this kind of business means losing some of the privacy that most of us expect,” Austin said during a press conference on February 1. “The American people have a right to know if their leaders are facing health problems that could affect their ability to perform their duties, even temporarily.”