For 1st Black Pentagon chief…Says Racism Is a Challenge.…

WASHINGTON (AP) — New­ly con­firmed Defense Sec­re­tary Lloyd Austin will have to con­tend not only with a world of secu­ri­ty threats and a mas­sive mil­i­tary bureau­cra­cy, but also with a chal­lenge that hits clos­er to home: root­ing out racism and extrem­ism in the ranks.

Austin took office Fri­day as the first Black defense chief, in the wake of the dead­ly insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capi­tol, where retired and cur­rent mil­i­tary mem­bers were among the riot­ers tout­ing far-right conspiracies.

The retired four-star Army gen­er­al told sen­a­tors this week that the Pen­tagon’s job is to “keep Amer­i­ca safe from our ene­mies. But we can’t do that if some of those ene­mies lie with­in our own ranks.”

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