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Then-US Central Command boss USMC Gen. James Mattis, laughs with USAF Col. James Jacobson April 1, 2012, at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. Air Force photo by SSgt. Angela Ruiz.

​Former US Central Command boss and legendary retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis has emerged as the front-runner to be the next Defense Secretary, prompting praise from lawmakers that would need to waive rules to get him in the position. Mattis—who retired in 2013 as CENTCOM chief, previously led US Joint Forces Command, and was a famed combat leader in Iraq and Afghanistan—met with President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday. Trump in a tweet said Mattis was “very impressive.” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a Monday statement that Mattis is “one of the finest military officers of his generation,” and he hopes the general can have “an opportunity to serve America again.”  Congress would need to waive a provision of the National Security Act of 1947, amended in 2008, that requires uniformed officers to be retired for seven years before they can lead the Pentagon. The requirement has been waived once before, when President Harry Truman nominated retired Army Gen. George Marshall to be Defense Secretary in 1950.