Austin breaks barrier as first Black U.S. defense secretary

Newly confirmed U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrives to begin his first day in office at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lloyd Austin, a retired Army general, made history on Friday by becoming America's first Black defense secretary, arriving at the Pentagon minutes after his Senate confirmation to a busy schedule that included a call with NATO's secretary general.

"See you around campus," Austin said, greeting reporters on the steps of the Pentagon.

Austin will be sworn in and immediately receive an intelligence briefing. At 2:30 pm, he will chair a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic with top Pentagon leadership, many joining virtually, the Pentagon said.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart, Idrees Ali, Patricia Zengerle, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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