01.12.17

Sen. Peters Votes to Move Forward on General Mattis’ Nomination for Defense Secretary

Peters: “It is necessary to add a steady presence and moderating force to President-elect Trump’s national security team.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Below is a statement from U.S. Senator Gary Peters on today’s vote in the Senate to pass legislation providing an exception to the limitation on being appointed Secretary of Defense within seven years of serving as an active duty commissioned officer of the Armed Forces. Defense Secretary nominee General James Mattis retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013, short of the seven year requirement.

“Our men and women in uniform and their families make immense personal sacrifices on behalf our nation, and I deeply respect General Mattis’ long record of military service. As someone who served in U.S. Navy Reserve and is now a public policymaker, I believe very strongly in the principle of civilian control of the military – a principle that stretches back to America’s founding when George Washington resigned his commission years before he served as our first president.

“Today’s nuanced conflicts include economic, informational and diplomatic elements, and America’s national security depends on more than just our strength on the battlefield. Expert witnesses at a recent Armed Services committee hearing testified that an exception to this prohibition should only be made under the most extraordinary of circumstances.

“Unfortunately, our nation is facing these extraordinary circumstances today. We have an incoming President who is unpredictable and whose words and actions cause both our allies and adversaries to question America’s commitments to global security. While General Mattis’ experience and qualifications alone do not justify lifting this requirement, I believe it is necessary to add a steady presence and moderating force to President-elect Trump’s national security team. It is with both reluctance and hope that I support legislation to allow General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense and will vote to confirm him.”