Also known as “Mad Dog” Mattis, the 66-year-old becomes the first top military officer to serve as secretary of defense since President Harry Truman’s appointment of Army General George C. Marshall in 1950.
The Senate voted 98-1 on Friday to confirm the nominee, the first official Trump administration Cabinet member. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) abstained from the vote, as he has been nominated as member of Trump’s Cabinet.
One of Trump’s first official acts as president was signing a waiver Congress approved to allow Mattis to serve in his new role. Typically, defense secretaries must have been out of the military service for at least seven years, as it is a civilian post.