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McCollum: Despite General's Strong Qualifications, Mattis Waiver Erodes Civilian Control of Military

January 13, 2017
Press Release

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement on the nomination of -- and the waiver required for -- General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense:

“I have profound respect for General James Mattis and his distinguished record of service to our nation. General Mattis is to be commended for his strong positions on important issues, such as reaffirming the U.S. commitment to our NATO allies, expressing support for our nuclear agreement with Iran, and —most importantly —rejecting the use of torture by the United States military.

“However, I have deep reservations about granting General Mattis a waiver to serve as the Secretary of Defense. Civilian control of the military is a principle that dates back to the founding of this country, and ensuring that this core American principle is protected should be of concern to all Americans. Only once before in our nation’s history has such a waiver been granted. With many other qualified civilian and former military leaders available to serve as Secretary of Defense, I am disappointed that President-elect Trump is asking us to overturn decades of precedent with this nomination.

“In order to uphold our Constitution’s guarantee of civilian control of the military, I opposed granting a waiver for General Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense. If General Mattis is confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to working with him to protect our national security and ensure the continued success of the American military.”