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Donald Trump picks retired Gen. James Mattis to lead Defense Dpt

Donald Trump picks retired Gen. James Mattis to lead Defense Dpt

Mattis has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be his defense secretary, according to people familiar with the decision, APA reports quoting The Washington Post. Congress has granted a similar exception just once, when Gen. George C. Marshall was appointed to the job in 1950.

"We are going to appoint "Mad Dog" Mattis as our secretary of defense".

Mattis will join the Trump administration after calls by some conservatives for him to join the presidential race in a longshot independent bid aimed at derailing Trump's ascent this spring. He is also known as the "Warrior Monk" in military circles for his strategic expertise.

James Mattis is a retired four-star Marine general who played several leading roles in the military for over 40 years. Typically, former military members have to wait seven years before taking a government job.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in New York Thursday, and met with Michael Flynn, Trump's choice to be national security adviser.

Mattis, 66, served 44 years in the Marine Corps and led the Marines and British troops during the bloody Battle of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. "He said - I was surprised - he said, 'I've never found it to be useful.' He said, 'I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture'".

It's unclear whether the legislation required to make Mattis Pentagon chief will be hard to obtain from Congress. "And I think it would be necessary", Schiff said.

Mattis, whose leadership has been praised by the soldiers who served under him, earned the Mad Dog moniker for his ferocious approach to combat.

Mattis has been fiercely against withdrawing USA troops from Afghanistan, saying Washington can not unilaterally claim an end to the campaign, and that its adversary, the Taliban, also has a say.

Mattis, promoted to US Central Command in 2010, retired from that post in spring 2013.

In March 2003, the same month US forces invaded Iraq, Mattis wrote a letter to everyone under his command, encouraging them to think before firing their weapons - and to "Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit". Trump has repeatedly criticized the Iran nuclear deal that loosened sanctions on the country in exchange for ending its nuclear weapons program for a time.

"There is a great difference between military service in risky circumstances and serving in a combat unit whose role is to search out, close with and kill the enemy at close quarters", Mattis testified a year ago before Congress.