Veterans groups are applauding President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE's decision to appoint retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as defense secretary.
On Monday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) said it "makes perfect sense" to appoint Mattis.
"Our nation has been at war for more than 15 years with no end in sight. It makes perfect sense to put a warfighter in charge of the war fighting,” said VFW National Commander Brian Duffy in a statement.
Critics of the move argued that appointing Mattis would weaken the tradition of civilian control over the military, and that his record as a military leader and warfighter might not translate into being an effective leader of a huge bureaucracy.
Current law requires defense secretaries to be out of uniform for at least seven years, but GOP lawmakers are readying legislation that would waive the rule for Mattis.
So far, only Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEx-officials voice deep concerns over new Pentagon UFO unit Paid leave advocates ramping up the pressure on Manchin and Schumer Gillibrand, bipartisan lawmakers push to keep military justice overhaul in NDAA MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) — who is a former Marine and Iraq War veteran — have said they would oppose that waiver.
Both VFW and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America indicated his military service would be an asset and urged a speedy confirmation.
“Retired Marine General James Mattis is revered by many in our generation and as we continue to face threats like ISIS, IAVA looks forward to having a leader at the Pentagon who served alongside us in our most recent wars," CEO and founder of IAVA Paul Rieckhoff said in a statement.
“We understand the importance of civilian leadership at the Pentagon and support the constitutional requirement of a waiver of General Mattis’ recent service. However, once he is appropriately vetted, we urge Congress to quickly confirm General Mattis’ nomination as we need his leadership during this critical time," he said.
“The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States looks forward to working with Gen. James Mattis, and we urge Congress to approve his waiver and confirm him immediately," Duffy said.