President-elect Donald Trump will invite a third general to a top White House position, offering retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, 66, the position of secretary of homeland security, The New York Times confirms. Kelly will join retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will serve as national security adviser, and retired Gen. James Mattis, who has been nominated for defense secretary, as former military men tapped for Trump's administration. As Politico notes, Kelly's selection may make slimmer the chances of retired Gen. David Petraeus for secretary of state, as many generals have already been nominated for White House positions.
The Department of Homeland Security, established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, helms border and immigration control, both of which are issues Trump had made central to his campaign. 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.
After four decades in the military, Kelly recently retired as the chief of U.S. Southern Command, which oversaw military operations in Central and South America. Kelly is also one of the most senior military officers to have lost a child in Iraq or Afghanistan; his son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010.
Kelly has not yet been formally offered the position because he is out of the country, but a person briefed on the decision said he would be appointed next week when others are publicly named for remaining Cabinet positions, including secretary of state.