Here’s What Mattis Actually Needs In Order To Be SecDef

DoD photo

Legendary Marine Corps Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis has emerged as the top choice for President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of Defense. However, he faces one big obstacle: The law requires those who serve in this post be retired from active-duty military service for seven years prior to appointment. Because Mattis retired in 2013, he would need Congress to make a legislative exemption for the time requirement.

Per Title 10 of the U.S. Code, the Secretary of Defense needs to be “appointed from civilian life by the president. A person may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular component of an armed force.”

There is a historical precedent for such an exemption. Army Gen. George Marshall, appointed in 1950, served as Secretary of Defense five years after leaving the Army to be secretary of State. At the time of his appointment, he was subject to The National Security Act of 1947, which barred any person from the post of secretary of Defense who had served as an officer in the armed forces during the past 10 years. His confirmation was ultimately secured through the passage of the George C. Marshall Exemption Act.

Though the National Security Act of 1947 was replaced by Title 10, the process in the event of a Mattis appointment would be similar. Essentially, rather than alter the language in U.S. Code, Congress would need to introduce an individual act to exempt him, and it would have to pass in both chambers before being signed into law by the president, according a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee.

Mattis, a highly decorated and revered leader in the eyes of the Marines and many in the military, will likely have no trouble getting approval from the new Republican Congress. His 44-year career culminated in 2010 when he served as the head of U.S. Central Command, managing conflicts across the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia until his retirement. Since he left the Marine Corps, Mattis has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s stances on Iraq, Iran, and refusal to take offensive military positions in a number of global conflicts.

After meeting with Mattis on Nov. 19, Trump proclaimed him to be “the real deal.”

However, a number of other prominent military leaders are reportedly still in contention, including former CIA director and Army general David Petraeus, and the former head of SOUTHCOM, Marine Gen. John Kelly.

The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.

Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.

And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.

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Jeremy Cuellar, left, and Kemia Hassel face life in prison if convicted of murdering Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III in Berrien County Dec. 31, 2018. (Courtesy of Berrien County Sheriff's Dept.)

BERRIEN COUNTY, MI -- The wife of an Army sergeant killed in December admitted that she planned his killing together with another man, communicating on Snapchat in an attempt to hide their communications, according to statements she made to police.

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A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.

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(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.

They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.

What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.

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A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)

The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.

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