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Lloyd Austin, the next US Defense Secretary, promises to combat extremism within the military

Lloyd Austin, the next US Defense Secretary, promises to combat extremism within the military

The next US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged Tuesday to combat extremism in the US military after the participation of plainclothes soldiers in the Capitol attack by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.

Lloyd Austin, the next US Defense Secretary, promises to combat extremism within the military

Austin (67 years), the first African American to lead the Pentagon, said, "The activities that we have seen recently in our ranks, in terms of behaviors that may indicate racism or extremism, are totally unacceptable in my opinion."

"I will do everything in my power to rid our ranks of racists and extremists," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, while the US Department of Defense announced that the National Guard is the 12-member maximum of the security mission entrusted with securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday.

The ministry said that the decision to expel them was taken following an investigation to establish whether there was any relationship between the elements responsible for ensuring the security of the capital and extremist groups.

"The mission of the Department of Defense is to protect America from our enemies, but we cannot implement it if some of these enemies are hiding in our ranks," said Austin, a former general in the Land Corps whose appointment is supposed to be approved by the Senate.

Asked about the main threat facing the United States, Austin mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic before China.

He pointed out that the epidemic "has caused the death of more than 400,000 Americans, and these are unbelievable losses," noting that the Pentagon can do more to combat the disease.

But he added, "China is the most difficult and complex problem (...)." He stressed that the United States wants to deter Beijing militarily, but wants to cooperate with China economically.

Austin did not reveal his plans to lead the US military, but in written responses to his elected officials, he said that he intends to review the decisions to withdraw from Germany and Somalia that Donald Trump wanted.

But he expressed support for the withdrawal from Afghanistan. "I would like to see this conflict end with a negotiated settlement," he told senators, stressing that "focusing on counterterrorism operations in the future would be beneficial."

In response to a question about Iran, which Joe Biden said he would like to resume dialogue with, Austin stated that Tehran is still "a destabilizing factor in the region" and that its system would have a nuclear weapon would be dangerous.

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