NATION POLITICS TRAIL GUIDE

This is our look at President-elect Donald Trump's transition and the outgoing Obama administration:

Donald Trump announces 'Mad Dog Mattis' as his choice for Defense secretary

 (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen James Mattis, a highly respected retired Marine four-star general, to head the Defense Department, filling in a crucial national security position in the emerging Cabinet.

"We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of Defense," Trump told a crowd of supporters in Cincinnati on Thursday night, referring to the retired general by his nickname. 

Mattis served 44 years in the Marine Corps before he retired in 2013. He headed U.S. Central Command in his final three years and oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other military operations in the Middle East.

Unmarried all his life, Mattis, 66, was known as a hard-charging but scholarly figure who issued heavy reading lists to his subordinates and who carried “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius on his deployments.

In speeches, he was as likely to quote from Shakespeare or an ancient Greek poet as from traditional military strategists Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. 

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