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Austin Released From Hospital Today

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 13, 2024) -- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III was released today from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, after having been admitted over the weekend.

Dr. John Maddox, trauma medical director, and Dr. Gregory Chesnut, Center for Prostate Disease Research of the Murtha Cancer Center director, said in a statement:

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"Secretary Austin was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Feb. 11 with discomfort and concern from a bladder issue related to his December 2023 prostate cancer surgery. His condition indicated a need for close monitoring by the critical care team and supportive care. His diagnostic evaluation identified the cause of his bladder issue and it was corrected with non-surgical procedures on Feb. 12."

The doctors say the secretary remained in good condition throughout his stay at Walter Reed, and as of this morning, no longer needed critical care monitoring. The secretary progressed well and was discharged to his home today. He is anticipated to continue his full recovery.

In December, Austin underwent surgery at Walter Reed related to a prostate cancer diagnosis. His doctors say his prognosis "remains excellent."

It was Sunday night that the secretary had been admitted into the critical care unit at Walter Reed for "supportive care and close monitoring," his doctors said.

At the time, Austin had transferred the functions and duties of the office of the secretary of defense to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House and Congress were also notified.

This week, the United States will participate in another meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The first meeting of the group was in April 2022, and was spearheaded by Austin. Since then, as many as 50 nations have participated regularly in the monthly meetings to work together to provide security assistance to Ukraine.

It's expected that Austin will attend this most recent virtual iteration of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a briefing at the Pentagon today.

"The secretary still intends to participate in the virtual Ukraine defense contact group tomorrow," she said. "This includes delivering opening remarks which will be livestreamed and available to view on the DOD website."

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan national security supplemental request which authorizes the defense department to, among other things, provide military aid to help Ukraine defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression, deliver security assistance to Israel, and provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians, Singh said.

"It is also an investment in our nation's defense industrial base," she added. "The United States has not provided a presidential drawdown package for Ukraine since December 27, and as the president said in his statement earlier today, the cost of inaction is rising every day."

Singh said that if U.S. support to Ukraine wavers, Russia will not stop its war in Ukraine, and may also be emboldened to seek gains beyond Ukraine's borders.

"If we do not stand against aggressors who invade ... another sovereign nation's territory, the consequences for our country's national security will be substantial," Singh said. "Our allies and our adversaries are watching. And so, we welcome this bipartisan supplemental agreement and ask that the House act urgently."

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