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​Marine Gen. James Mattis, then-commander of US Central Command, speaks during an Air Forces Central Command change of command ceremony in Southwest Asia, Aug. 3, 2011. Air Force photo by SrA. Paul Labbe.

​President-elect Donald Trump announced his intention to appoint retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as Secretary of Defense during a rally in Cincinnati on Thursday evening. “We are going to appoint 'Mad Dog' Mattis as our Secretary of Defense,” said Trump during the rally, teasing the audience to keep the secret until the official announcement is made on Monday. If confirmed, Mattis, who retired in 2013 and last served as commander of US Central Command, would be only the second retired general to serve as Secretary of Defense. Congress would not only need to confirm the appointment, but it would need to approve a separate waiver to existing federal law, which states that someone cannot have served on Active Duty for at least seven years before serving as Defense Secretary. It has done so one other time in history, for Gen. George Marshall in 1950. Mattis is a highly respected Marine known for his sometimes salty, but nearly always direct talk. Mattis share’s Trump’s views on Iran, saying in April that Iran is “the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East,” even though discussions often center on ISIS or al-Qaeda. However, he criticized Trump during the campaign for saying NATO was “obsolete.” Mattis also served as the head of US Joint Forces Command and Nato Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from November 2007 to 2010.