President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine General James Mattis to head the Department of Defense, a move that could signal the incoming administration's tougher positioning with nations such as Iran.
Trump made a surprise announcement of the expected appointment during a rally in Cincinnati on Thursday night, as the crowd cheered wildly. "We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of Defense," Trump said theatrically.
He then added: "But we're not announcing it till Monday, so don't tell anyone—Mad Dog. He's great. He is great."
Mattis, a tough talking retired Marine general nicknamed "Mad Dog" who during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 famously led the 1st Marine Division's rapid drive into Baghdad. Among his peers, Mattis has a reputation as a blunt military strategist.