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James Mattis as Defense Secretary? One national security expert disagrees

Kai Ryssdal Dec 2, 2016
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BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump speaks as he stands with retired United States Marine Corps general James Mattis after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.  
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Another key job in the Trump administration has been filled. Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis is the president-elect’s pick for Secretary of Defense and the official announcement comes Monday.

It is unconventional to name a retired general officer to run the Pentagon for several reasons, some of which Erin Simpson lays out in a new piece at the commentary website War on the Rocks.

Her piece is titled “I Love Mattis, But I Don’t Love Him as SecDef.” Simpson spoke with Kai Ryssdal.

On Mattis and why he may not be a good pick for secretary of defense:

Most of us who enjoy General Mattis and appreciate his unique style, in many ways, love his directness, his bluntness, his profanity at times. I certainly enjoy that. That’s gonna be a tough road to hoe in an administration where that’s well-represented already. We really would need him to toe the line much more carefully, particularly with management of allies and making sure that our — kind of  steady commitments to the defense posture that we’ve maintained continues. That’s not what you go to Mattis for…

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.

 

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