Tags: Donald Trump | statute | bar | james mattis | trump | defense secretary | position

Statute Could Bar Gen. Mattis From Being Trump's Defense Secretary

Image: Statute Could Bar Gen. Mattis From Being Trump's Defense Secretary

Retired Gen. James Mattis (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 21 Nov 2016 02:21 PM

Retired Marine Corps Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis is a contender for the Donald Trump administration's secretary of defense, but he could be kept from the position based on a statute that delays military service members from serving in civilian positions, according to CNN.

The statute, in Section 903(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act, requires a seven-year period between active duty and serving as secretary of defense, which is a civilian job. Congress would need to issue Mattis a waiver of the statute, since he retired from active duty in 2013.

A House Armed Services Committee aide said they are looking into how to get the waiver, but that Trump's transition team has not contacted them. The aide said getting such a waiver from Congress would probably be a simple task, telling CNN, "Mattis is pretty popular among the members."

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on CNN's "New Day," that the rule was installed because "you don't want a military attitude in the civilian position."

The secretary of defense's decisions have a wide impact around the world, including weapon acquisitions, Rogers said. Regarding the seven-year time limit, he told CNN, "I think they just want a little distance there to make sure you don't just take a general and make them secretary."

Rogers said that Mattis was a good choice for the job. "This is a very tough warrior who is a strategic thinker that thinks about the second and third order effects of every decision when you use your military."

Maj. Gen. James "Spider" Marks, also on "New Day" with Rogers, agreed. "Nobody is more well prepared than Gen. Jim Mattis. He truly is a student of the profession and has demonstrated that throughout the course of his career without a blemish," he said.

USA Today reported on the history of the statute, saying it was instituted in 1947 and required the secretary of defense to be out of the military for 10 years. The only secretary who has been given the waiver was in 1950, when President Harry Truman got it for Army Gen. George Marshall.

The statute's limit was changed to seven years in 2008, according to USA Today.

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Retired Marine Corps Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis is a contender for the Donald Trump administration's secretary of defense, but he could be kept from the position based on a statute that delays military service members from serving in civilian positions, according to CNN.
statute, bar, james mattis, trump, defense secretary, position
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2016-21-21
Monday, 21 Nov 2016 02:21 PM
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