President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for Secretary of Defense.
Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense https://t.co/om3DX3xtKY— Jackson Diehl (@JacksonDiehl) December 1, 2016
Because Mattis retired in 2013, he will need Congress to create a new law that will allow him to serve in this role. Current law states that the defense secretary cannot have been on active duty for a period of seven years before being eligible to serve in that position. In 1950, an exemption was granted for Gen. George C. Marshall, allowing him to be secretary of defense, so this isn't entirely unprecedented.
Mattis was briefly the subject of a campaign urging him to run for president as an independent.