WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2017–The U.S. Senate confirmed two retired generals as the first Trump administration cabinet members.
Retired U.S. Marine Corps generals James Mattis and John Kelly were confirmed to lead the Defense Department and Homeland Security, respectively.
Mattis was approved as the 26th secretary of defense by a 98-1 vote following President Donald Trump’s signed waiver shortly after his swearing-in ceremony Jan. 20.
Kelly also was confirmed as secretary of homeland security by a vote of 88-11 Jan. 20. Vice President Michael R. Pence administered the oaths of office shortly after their confirmations.
Congress passed a waiver for the retired four-star general to serve in the position because law requires former service members to be out of uniform for at least seven years to serve as defense secretary. Mattis retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after serving for 44 years.
During confirmation hearings, Mattis told the committee that he will be “the strongest possible advocate for military and civilian personnel and their families” and that he will “foster an atmosphere of harmony and trust at the department with our interagency partners and the congressional committees.”
“Our military is the envy of the world, representing America’s awesome determination to defend herself,” he said. “Working with you, I will endeavor to keep our unique all-volunteer force second to none.”
As secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly leads the third largest federal department. Homeland Security includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Secret Service.
“I am honored and humbled to take on this responsibility to serve alongside the magnificent men and women of the Department of Homeland Security,” he said.
Kelly served in the Marine Corps for 45 years. His last assignment was as commander of U.S. Southern Command in 2016. As commander of USSOCOM, Kelly routinely worked with Homeland Security to combat drug trafficking and smuggling.
Confirmation hearings for other Trump cabinet nominations will be considered during next week’s Senate sessions.
Compiled from DOD and DHS news releases