US defense chief apologizes for failing to notify Biden about hospitalization

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has apologized for failing to inform President Joe Biden in advance of his hospitalization for three days.

Austin held his first news conference since leaving hospital at the Pentagon on Thursday.

He underwent surgery for prostate cancer under general anesthesia in late December last year, and was admitted to a hospital on New Year's Day for complications. His failure to give advance notice has raised criticism of the administration's crisis management.

Austin told reporters, "I did not handle this right." He said he should have told the president as well as his team and the American public about his cancer diagnosis.

He went on to say, "We've already put in place some new procedures to make sure that any lapses in notification don't happen."

Asked about the possibility of resigning over the matter, Austin rejected it.