LATIN AMERICA/HOMELAND SECURITY: Trump Taps Ex-SOUTHCOM Chief to head DHS.
Trump Picks Retired Marine General.
President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Corps General John Kelly to be the next head of the Department of Homeland Security, according to several news outlets.
General Kelly, 66, who until recently led United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), had a 40-year career in the Marine Corps, and led troops in intense combat in western Iraq, according to the New York Times. Kelly has not yet formally offered the job to General Kelly, in part because the general is out of the country this week, a person briefed on the decision told the Times. The president-elect plans to roll out the Homeland Security Department appointment next week, along with his remaining national security positions — including secretary of state.
Kelly is not expected to face difficulty winning Senate confirmation. Trump’s team was drawn to him because of his Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition told the Washington Post. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats that he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.
Based in Miami, Florida, SOUTHCOM has military responsibilities for Latin America and the Caribbean Basin — 32 countries in all. Those responsibilities include organizing training exercises with local militaries in the region as well as good will/humanitarian aid missions. One of SOUTHCOM’s most demanding missions is counter narcotics.
Before taking over at SOUTHCOM in 2012, Kelly served as senior military adviser to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta starting in 2011. Trump’s selection of Kelly for DHS was first reported by CBS News.
Kelly, who retired from the SOUTHCOM post earlier this year, publicly clashed with the Obama administration on its plans – which were never executed – to close Guantanamo Bay and dismissed as “foolishness” concerns that the military’s treatment of detainees at the facility had cost the U.S. the moral high ground in the War on Terror, POLITICO reported.
Kelly is the latest in a string of former military figures to be nominated for positions in the incoming Trump administration. Trump has also nominated retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security advisor and retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as defense secretary. Retired Army general and former Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus is said to be among those under consideration for secretary of state, the Voice of America website reported.
Entry filed under: Counter Terrorism, Disaster Relief, Homeland Security, International Crime, Latin America, Marine Corps, National Security and Defense, News Developments. Tags: Border Security, counter narcotics, counter terrorism, Department of Homeland Security, General John Kelly, Homeland Security, Latin America, President-elect Donald Trump, SOUTHCOM, Trump cabinet appointments, U.S. Southern Command.