Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis to be his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post.
In order to take the job, Mattis will need Congress to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law stating that defense secretaries must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years (Mattis has not been on active duty for 4 years). Congress has granted a similar exception just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950.
From The Washington Post:
Mattis, 66, retired as the chief of U.S. Central Command in spring 2013 after serving more than four decades in the Marine Corps. He is known as one of the most influential military leaders of his generation, serving as a strategic thinker while occasionally drawing rebukes for his aggressive talk. Since retiring, he has served as a consultant and as a visiting fellow with the Hoover Institution, a think tank at Stanford University.
Like Trump, Mattis favors a tougher stance against U.S. adversaries abroad, especially Iran. The general, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in April, said that while security discussions often focus on terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaeda, the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.”
Mattis is nicknamed “Mad Dog”.
For the most part, Mattis is a fairly safe choice. Yes, he leans conservative and does share some of Trump’s views. But he’s a decorated general who has had the trust of Obama, Bush and Clinton.