Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will undergo a medical procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Friday evening and will transfer power temporarily to his deputy, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement.

Austin is continuing to deal with bladder issues that arose in December 2023 following his treatment for prostate cancer, Ryder said.

The procedure is elective and minimally invasive, “is not related to his cancer diagnosis and has had no effect on his excellent cancer prognosis,” the press secretary said.

Austin will transfer authority to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks while he is indisposed, the Pentagon said.

Austin, 70, has had ongoing health issues since undergoing surgery to address a prostate cancer diagnosis. He spent two weeks in the hospital following complications from a prostatectomy. Austin faced criticism at the time for not immediately informing the president or Congress of either his diagnosis or hospitalization.

Austin was taken back to Walter Reed in February for a bladder issue, admitted to intensive care for a second time and underwent a non-surgical procedure under general anesthesia at the time.

The Pentagon has notified the White House and Congress, Ryder said.

Tara Copp is a Pentagon correspondent for the Associated Press. She was previously Pentagon bureau chief for Sightline Media Group.

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