Weird: It’s Illegal for Gen. Mattis to Be Sec. of Defense, But He Might Anyway
Here's a weird history lesson for you: It's against the law for any retired general to be Secretary of Defense until 7 years after they retire. Think that's some ancient Constitutional relic? Nope, it was updated as recently as 2008 (when the span was lowered from 10 years). That means Richland's very own Retired Marine General James Mattis isn't eligible until 2020. But that didn't stop President Elect Donald Trump from interviewing him for the job Nov. 19. Why? It's more weirdness:
The law exists because Secretary of Defense is supposed to be a CIVILIAN position. Generation after generation of lawmakers have been afraid of a military person in the post.
The last time it happened was 1950 when President Truman wanted Gen. Marshall to be his Sec. of Defense at the start of the Korean War (Marshall was Secretary of State, too, and had complained how poorly the State Dept. and War Department cooperated. When Congress approved Marshall for Sec. of Defense they made a note in their approval: THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN AGAIN. And he only served one year.
And it hasn't happened again, until now, maybe.
But Gen. Mattis is perfect for the job.
He was in charge of military operations in the Middle East until his retirement in 2013. He was considered the most popular general of his generation. He even wrote a book about how civilian politicians were poorly leading the military.
Trump obviously thinks he's a great candidate for the job, and there's a good chance Congress might agree.
You know what that means don't you? It means your 7-steps to Kevin Bacon will be cut in half! James Mattis grew up in Richland and still has a residence here.