President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, according to CBS.
Kelly was the head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) until his retirement in January. He is the third general joining the Trump administration, having been preceded by Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as national security advisor, and Marine Gen. James Mattis, who will serve as secretary of defense.
Like fellow Mattis, Kelly is known for his no-nonsense attitude. His appointment comes as a bit of a surprise, given his disdain for politics. He once referred to U.S. politics a “cesspool” in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine this summer. He also did not endorse Trump during the campaign, and expressed interest in working for either a Republican or Democratic administration.
Kelly served a total of 46 years in the Marine Corps. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Kelly enlisted in 1970 and was commissioned as an officer in 1976. He started his officer career as a rifle and weapons platoon commander and served various roles thereafter, including as liaison officer to the House of Representatives. He gained significant combat leadership experience during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He returned as a commanding general for the I Marine Expeditionary Force in 2008.
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