Lloyd Austin, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, has been hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Virginia for a bladder problem. Her duties have been transferred to her deputy, Kathleen Hicks, while she remains in intensive care. The Pentagon announced this and stated that it is unclear how long she will remain in hospital. Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer last December and underwent surgery. Her secret hospitalization was initially kept hidden even from President Joe Biden, which caused controversy in the U.S. However, on January 1, Austin was hospitalized again due to complications from her surgery.