Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis made it through the hot seat in the Senate on Thursday with virtually no major controversies on his prior record or his future plans for the U.S. military.
The nominee for Defense secretary did issue a warning on Thursday however, claiming that world powers are on edge.
He called for strengthening “military readiness” while also pursuing “business reforms” at the Pentagon. And when asked about women and gays in the military, especially in combat roles, he said U.S. forces must be the "most lethal in the world.”
“If you confirm me, my watchwords will be solvency and security in providing for the protection of our people and the survival of our freedoms,” he said.
Mattis led U.S. Central Command during the War on Terrorism before retiring in 2013.
And for those who are weary of Mattis's prior military career interfering with his civilian responsibilities, have no fear he said.
“Civilian leaders bear these responsibilities because the esprit-de-corps of our military, its can-do spirit, and its obedience to civilian leadership reduces the inclination and power of the military to oppose a policy … it is ultimately ordered to implement,” he said.
The Senate Armed Services Committee made it official just minutes after the hearing by passing a waiver that will allow Mattis to serve as defense secretary before sending it to the full Senate for approval.