As if today wasn’t awesome enough with Barack Obama leaving office and Donald Trump taking over, it just got better.
Retired Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis has just been confirmed as secretary of defense.
The Senate confirmed James N. Mattis as President Trump’s defense secretary Friday, breaking with decades of precedent by making a recently retired general the Pentagon’s top civilian leader.
Mattis, 66, will lead the Defense Department’s 1.9 million active-duty service members and reservists and oversee a budget of more than $580 billion as Trump prepares to expand the military. He becomes the first senior military officer to serve as defense secretary since President Truman nominated Army Gen. George C. Marshall for the job in 1950, as the U.S. military struggled in the Korean War.
Many lawmakers and long-time foreign policy observers hope Mattis can be a moderating voice of experience in an administration that has notably few senior officials with national security experience in Washington.
Mattis is one of the most influential military officers of his generation, retiring from the Marine Corps in 2013 as the four-star chief of U.S. Central Command after a career in which he led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his Jan. 12 confirmation hearing, he said he never anticipated he would be nominated for the job and was “enjoying a full life west of the Rockies” when Trump asked to meet with him.