Published: Thu, December 08, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump Expected to Pick Gen. John Kelly as DHS Secretary

Trump Expected to Pick Gen. John Kelly as DHS Secretary

Kelly is the third general tapped for the highest levels of Trump's administration, along with retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at Defense and retired Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn as Trump's national security adviser. Kelly lost his son Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly in an IED explosion in Afgha.

As former head of the military's Southern Command, Kelly was responsible for USA military activities and relationships in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Kelly is the second retired general to be nominated for Trump's Cabinet.

Security supremo: John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general who is being nominated for Homeland Security.

That experience - and his record administering large operations - will be useful if he is confirmed by Congress to take charge of the Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy of 240,000 civil servants, sorely in need of rationalising and streamlining.

Kelly was picked by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to serve as his senior military adviser and then served in the same position under Leon Panetta before moving to Southern Command.

A former enlisted infantry Marine who rose to the rank of a general, Kelly has earned a reputation for his frankness and candor, as well as his fierce respect for junior service members. Gen. John Kelly would be tasked with protecting USA borders and overseeing immigration policies, two centerpieces of Trump's presidential campaign.

He retired earlier this year. Two of his sons also have served, and one died while fighting in Afghanistan.

Created after the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security now employs almost 250,000 people. In the past, Kelly has clashed with President Obama on the decision to open combat roles to women in the military as well as the administration's plans to close Guantanamo Bay.

The maverick real estate tycoon, who has never previously held elected office, has lashed out at China accusing Beijing of currency manipulation, unfairly taxing USA exports and militarizing the South China Sea.

Kelly's thoughts on other controversial issues, however, have been markedly more measured than Trump's.

In the end, people familiar with the transition said, the choice came down to Kelly and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He returned as a commanding general for the I Marine Expeditionary Force in 2008.

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