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Senate committee debates civilian control of the military before Mattis hearings

W.J. Hennigan, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Cohen and Hicks warned that permanently amending or eradicating the law would be detrimental to national security by encouraging politicization of the military, but that Mattis merited an exception.

The sentiment was echoed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the committee, who reiterated his strong support for the retired four-star general during the hearing.

"There is no military officer I have met in my lifetime with a deeper understanding of civil­military relations than James Mattis," McCain said. "His character, judgment and commitment to defending our nation and its Constitution have earned him the trust of our next commander in chief, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and so many serving in our armed forces."

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the ranking member of the committee, requested the hearing ahead of the vote on the waiver, which is expected to take place on Thursday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who previously had said she would not support granting an exception, was the lone opponent at the hearing.

She said she is concerned that Trump also chose recently retired generals to head the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security. She warned about the impact so many generals may have "on our overall national security policy."

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