Mattis is Trump's choice to be secretary of defense
WASHINGTON – Retired Marine Corps Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis has been selected to become the next secretary of defense, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The choice would bring a seasoned, widely respected battlefield commander and strong critic of Iran and Russia to the military’s top civilian position.
A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team said no decision about the defense post has been made, though the Post said “multiple sources” reported Mattis was the choice. CNN quoted Trump team sources as saying the formal announcement would come next week.
Congress would have to approve a waiver because Mattis, who retired in 2013, has not been out of uniform for the required seven years.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mattis, 66, who fashioned a reputation among Marines as a warrior monk during four decades of infantry leadership that included the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, would replace Ash Carter, a physicist, academic and longtime Pentagon civilian who was tapped by President Barack Obama to lead the Defense Department in 2015.
Trump chose Mattis for the post after nominating three members of his administration’s national security team two weeks ago. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a conservative Republican from Alabama, was picked to become attorney general; retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a strong Trump ally and critic of radical Islam, will be national security adviser, and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., was tapped for CIA director.
Trump called Mattis “the real deal” and a “true general’s general” in recent tweets.
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