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Senate easily confirms Mattis / © Getty Images

The Senate on Friday easily confirmed James Mattis to be President Trump’s secretary of Defense, hours after Trump’s inauguration. Mattis, a retired Marine general who most recently served as commander of U.S. Central Command, is highly respected by both Republicans and Democrats for his military service.

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He retired from the military in 2013, meaning he needed a waiver to bypass a law that says Defense secretaries must be out of uniform for at least seven years. Congress easily passed the waiver last week, and Trump signed the waiver legislation as his first act as president.

Some Democrats had expressed concern about granting Mattis the waiver, citing the need to maintain civilian control of the military. But the concerns were not enough to prevent Mattis from becoming Pentagon chief.

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