Photo composite by Matt Battaglia

Former Secretary of Defense, CIA director, and lifelong statesman Leon Panetta has just one piece of advice for legendary Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis on the eve of his confirmation to the post of Defense secretary: “Keep doing what you’ve always done, which is to talk straight, to be truthful to the leadership, and make the best recommendations possible that will protect this country.”

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DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a slew of generals to serve in his cabinet, calling into the question the long-held U.S. tradition of civilian control of both the government and the military. His selection of legendary retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to serve as secretary of Defense has made lawmakers and constituents uneasy about how much influence the military will have in policymaking.

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