Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin transferred his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks on Friday as he prepared for an elective surgery.

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder announced the news in a statement, saying that Austin will undergo a “minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure” at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“The Secretary has determined he will be temporarily unable to perform his functions and duties during the procedure, so Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks will assume the functions and duties of the Secretary of Defense and serve as the Acting Secretary of Defense,” Ryder stated.

According to Ryder, the issue Austin is getting an elective surgery for is related to his previous bladder issue.

Later on Friday afternoon, Ryder announced that Austin was done with his medical procedure and was back home.

“He is now back home and will continue with his official schedule which includes events on Monday for Memorial Day,” Ryder stated.

Austin’s elective surgery comes after he was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on January 15. At the time, he also transferred his role to his deputy, having been hospitalized on Jan. 1 for complications stemming from a procedure for prostate cancer.

He had received backlash after his hospitalization, as he was accused of keeping top officials in the Biden administration and Congress in the dark.

The blowback he faced was so severe that some critics called for his removal, including former President Donald Trump, who asked for him to be fired in a post to Truth Social.

“He has been missing for one week, and nobody, including his boss, Crooked Joe Biden, had a clue as to where he was or might be,” Trump wrote, adding, “He has performed poorly and should have been dismissed along with ‘General’ Mark Milley, for many reasons, but in particular, the catastrophic surrender in Afghanistan, perhaps the most embarrassing moment in the history of our Country.”

Austin apologized for how he handled his hospitalization during a press conference, saying, “We did not handle this right, and I did not handle this right. I should’ve told the president about my cancer diagnosis. I should have also told my team and the American public. And I take full responsibility. I apologize to my teammates and to the American people.”