President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for U.S. defense secretary, retired General Lloyd Austin, stands to collect as much as $1.7 million connected with leaving Raytheon Technologies Corp, an ethics disclosure showed on Sunday.
Austin took a board seat with a predecessor to the weapons maker after retiring from the Army in 2016. As part of his compensation, he was given stock in Raytheon and two companies that were spun off, Carrier Global Corp and Otis Worldwide Corp.
If he resigns to take the Biden administration job, some of that stock would be sold on his behalf. He pledged to fully divest from Raytheon within 90 days of his confirmation, Austin said in filings posted by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He also agreed to recuse himself from some decisions involving the company for a year. The filings do not show exact amounts, only broad ranges of the value of the stock, from about $800,000 to around $1.7 million.
The disclosures come as Biden puts increasing pressure on Congress to confirm his national security team as close to his Jan. 20 inauguration as possible. His transition planning was delayed by Republican President Donald Trump contesting the Democrat’s November election victory. Austin has more hurdles than usual to being confirmed for the post. He needs both the approval of the Senate for the job as well as a separate congressional waiver since he retired from the military less than seven years ago.
Austin would be the second Pentagon chief in four years to need such a waiver, after Trump picked retired Marine general James Mattis to be his first defense secretary. Some lawmakers are wary of granting such waivers, citing a need to maintain civilian control of the military. Austin’s role with businesses that seek contracts with the defense department also could give pause to some liberals among Democrats.
Austin headed the U.S. Central Command under President Barack Obama and would be the first Black defense secretary.