On Friday, General James Mattis was officially confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Shortly after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the retired four-star General was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate to lead the Pentagon, being the successor to former-SECDEF Ash Carter.
The Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee was the first to vote 26-1 in favor of Mattis on Wednesday. The Democratic Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, was the sole member of the panel to vote “no,” citing that she wants to keep citizen control of the military.
Congress approved a waiver to give Mattis a one time exception from a federal law which states the head of the Pentagon must be a citizen of out of uniformed military service for at least seven years. Having only retired in 2013, Mattis fell short of that requirement.
Trump’s transition team first broke the news in November that Mattis was being considered for to lead the Pentagon. Mattis first enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969 and retired in 2013 as one of the most beloved four star generals. In 2010, Mattis was appointed by President Obama to replace General David Petraeus as commander of the United States Central Command.