Trump to nominate retired general for defense chief
President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday he would nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to helm the Pentagon.
Trump announced his decision at a so-called victory rally in Ohio, joking about an earlier leaked report that disclosed the decision by telling supporters to "keep it inside the room.
"We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense," he said in Cincinnati, referring to one of the general's nicknames.
He also called Mattis "the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have” referring to one of America's most storied generals.
Mattis left the Pentagon less than four years ago after heading the U.S.'s Middle East command, commonly referred to as Centcom.
During the course of his more than four-decade career in the Corps, Mattis strung together an impressive military record that spanned the First Gulf War and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
But with such a short gap from active duty he will need a legal exemption from Congress to assume the Defense Department's top spot.
U.S. law stipulates that defense secretaries are required to have at least seven years between active duty and their appointment. Congress has granted a similar exemption only once, to iconic Army Gen. George C. Marshall.
During his time in the Marines, Mattis developed a reputation as a valued strategic mind who was also an aggressive military leader, earning him the monikers "Warrior Monk" and the previously mentioned "Mad Dog Mattis".
He led U.S. operations in Fallujah in 2004, which were some of the fiercest fights U.S. forces faced in Iraq. His call sign for the operation was "chaos".
Mattis is known to be an advocate for a more aggressive U.S. military posture abroad, particularly when it comes to Iran, much like his prospective commander-in-chief.
Mattis previously served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for transformation before taking the top spot at Centcom.
Some have speculated Mattis was forced out of the post after clashing with Obama administration officials about the U.S.'s Iran policy. He left Centcom five months early, and has declined to comment on the matter.AA
Last Modified: 2016-12-02 12:41:08
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