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Indo-Pacific

Biden's defense secretary pick promises laser-like focus on China

Gen. Lloyd Austin nears confirmation as Congress grants waiver to serve

NEW YORK -- A U.S. Senate committee backed retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary on Thursday, sending him a step closer to becoming the first African American to hold the post.

The former four-star general was easily granted a waiver by both houses of Congress from the seven-year "cooling-off period" needed before a retired service member can return to lead the Pentagon.

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