Defense Secretary Contender James Mattis Faces Legal Obstacle to Getting the Post

Defense Secretary Contender James Mattis Faces Legal Obstacle to Getting the PostThe saying is “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” and if President-elect Donald Trump picks retired Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, he is still too much a Marine in the eyes of the law. Mattis retired in 2013, leaving him four years short of the requisite seven years after active duty before commissioned officers may serve as secretary of defense. Experts say the reason for the mandatory break between active service and heading the Defense Department is to ensure that any incoming secretary has had time to adjust to being a civilian leader rather than a military officer.

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