Trump picks Marine Gen. James Mattis as Defense Secretary

President-elect Donald Trump Thursday filled the top post of defense secretary with retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis.“We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense,” Trump told a rally in Cincinnati, the first stop on a post-election “thank-you tour.”

In 2010, Gen. Mattis replaced Gen. David Petraeus (now one of the candidates for secretary of state) as head of the Central Command that oversees US military operations across the Middle East. Mattis has said that responding to “political Islam” is the major security issue facing the US. He has also been quoted as saying that the Iranian regime is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.” New congressional legislation is needed to approve his appointment to bypass a federal law requiring defense secretaries not to have been on active duty for seven years.

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