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Trump Names Gen. John F. Kelly to Lead Homeland Security

Trump Names Gen. John F. Kelly to Lead Homeland Security

Trump has now chosen three generals for top positions.

President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, who has become well known for his bluntness. Trump has now picked three generals for positions within his administration:

General Kelly, 66, who led the United States Southern Command, had a 40-year career in the Marine Corps, and led troops in intense combat in western Iraq. In 2003, he became the first Marine colonel since 1951 to be promoted to brigadier general while in active combat.

Mr. Trump, a person briefed on the decision said, has not yet formally offered the job to General Kelly, in part because the general is out of the country this week. The president-elect plans to roll out the appointment next week, along with his remaining national security positions, including secretary of state.

The Washington Post reported that Trump prefers Kelly because of the general’s “Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition said. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.”

Trump’s team also stated that Trump chose Kelly because he lost his son in combat, making him “the highest-ranking military officer to lose a son or daughter in Iraq or Afghanistan.” Trumps wants “people on his national security team who understood personally the hazards of sending Americans into combat.” Lt. Robert Michael Kelly died in Afghanistan after he stepped on a land mine:

Four days later, the general delivered a passionate and at times angry speech about the military’s sacrifices and its troops’ growing sense of isolation from society.

“Their struggle is your struggle,” he told a crowd of former Marines and business people in St. Louis. “If anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight — our country — these people are lying to themselves. . . . More important, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to this nation.”

He never mentioned his son by name. The speech has been passed around the Internet ever since.

Kelly, like Trump, does not hold back his feelings on situations:

Known inside the Pentagon as a thoughtful man who continued serving his country even after his son was killed in combat, Kelly has talked in stark terms — much like Trump — about the threats America faces in the Middle East and beyond. In speeches, he has expressed frustration with what he calls the “bureaucrats” in Washington, and he described the military’s counterterrorism operations abroad as a war against a “savage” enemy who would gladly launch more deadly attacks.

“Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our vicious enemy would do it today, tomorrow and everyday thereafter,” Kelly said in a 2013 Memorial Day address in Texas. “I don’t know why they hate us, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta endorsed Trump’s decision:

“He has led our women and men in uniform and understands what it takes to keep our nation safe,” Mr. Panetta said in a statement. “General Kelly and his family know the meaning of sacrifice in ways that merit that respect of a grateful nation.”


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Funny thing about successful generals: They get things done.
Funny thing about successful business people: They get things done.

American Human | December 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm

With the number of Generals and some other noteworthy people (i.e. Sessions as AG etc.), It seems as if the Trump administration is ready to Kick A$$ and Take Names!!!

Is this what we’ve been looking for?

    Haverwilde in reply to American Human. | December 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    As for me, yes, I want the Administration to be “ready to Kick A$$ and Take Names!!!” As well as the good sense to know when that time is ‘ready.’

    I am sick of this administration’s willingness to pay billions, to our enemies, insult our allies, and pick fights where they are not needed and ignore fights that are endangering our nation.

More adults coming in.

Why would a Gold Star father want to work for this hatemonger.

    great unknown in reply to Lee Jan. | December 7, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    How about, because the Gold Star father knows that President Elect Trump, far from being a hatemonger, is a lover. Of America and what it stands for.

    As opposed to many who call the President Elect a hatemonger.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Lee Jan. | December 7, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Lee, all you are doing is revealing that ubiquitous overinflated liberal ego that says, “I know better than Gold Star fathers themselves whom they should work for.” Blind within their bubble, yours is an example of what is meant when liberals are said to beclown themselves.

    userpen in reply to Lee Jan. | December 8, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Because the Gold Star Father is relieved that the hate monger lost the election. And now the Gold Star Father is thankful for the opportunity to work for someone he really and truly admires – Donald Trump who will make America great again.

“President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, who has become well known for his bluntness.”

How about: President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, a man well-known for his bluntness, to lead the Department of Homeland Security.”

DHS is not “well-known for his bluntness”; Gen. Kelly is well-known for his bluntness.

Hang on a second. The meeeja pans Trump for knowing more than Generals and then pans him for appointing generals to posts within his Presidency!?!!??!

Im looking forward to the next 8 years watching liberals lose their minds over EVERYTHING!! HAHAHAHAHAHA 🙂

Personally if I were going to appoint a retired officer of the armed services to head DHS I would appoint a retired USCG admiral.

The Coast Guard is part of DHS. A Coastie admiral is going to be intimately familiar with the mission assigned to DHS. They perform their role in fulfilling that mission every day.

In the late ’90s when I went in the reserves after 10 years on active duty I was assigned to a Harbor Defense command. It was a mixed USN/USCG command. The CO was Navy, the XO was Coast Guard (I had already worked with the USCG on active duty when I deployed overseas to provide intel support to counter-narcotics operations). The USCG was already performing the Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security mission before 9/11. They were doing homeland security before there was a Department of Homeland Security.

One might be forgiven for wondering why, since the port security has been a core USCG mission since essentially as long as the USCG has existed in its modern form, we simply didn’t hand them the entire Harbor Defense mission and be done with it. The reason, of course, is that there is a vast difference between domestic port security and deploying overseas and securing a foreign port in a hostile environment.

My command was essentially the headquarters unit. We had few hand-me-down Army six-bys, tents, and most importantly the MAST, or Mobile Ashore Support Terminal. Our role was to coordinate a 360 dome of defense around, over, and under the port. Overhead we’d work with Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Army tactical aviation, landward we’d work with Army and Marine infantry, we’d have Navy and Coast Guard inshore patrol boats within the harbor, just offshore we’d have patrol boats such as the old USCG Island class cutters, and further offshore larger Naval warships, while guarding against enemy swimmers, submersibles, as well as performing mine detection and disposal were assets such as Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Units with their portable radars and sonars, EOD Mobile Units, and elements off the Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, specifically the operational Marine Mammal Systems.

This was well beyond the normal scope of the USCG’s domestic PWCS mission. But so much of what the USCG was already doing was so obviously elemental to the Homeland Security mission that when the Coast Guard was folded into the newly created DHS it was perhaps the only component that didn’t need to reorganize, modify its training, or really do anything differently than it had already been doing. When Congress passed the Homeland Security Act in 2002 it did designate the USCG’s 11 statutory missions as either Homeland Security (PWCS, Drug Interdiction, Undocumented Migrant Interdiction, Defense Readiness, Other Law Enforcement) or non-Homeland Security (Search and Rescue, Aids to Navigation, Ice Operations [monitoring, breaking], Marine Safety, Living Marine Resources, Marine Environmental protection). But these were already existing missions. And clearly after 9/11 they had obvious and immediate applications to counterterrorism. The drug smugglers can easily branch out into weapons smuggling. Human trafficking is human trafficking; if the traffickers can smuggle in undocumented workers they can smuggle in terrorists. Other Law Enforcement was concerned with preventing foreign vessels from entering our EEZ and fishing illegally. But if the USCG has expertise in that then they have expertise in detecting and preventing suspicious vessels from encroaching in US waters and conducting illicit activity, period.

The USCG did go on and develop additional capabilities; Special Forces, really. Such as their Maritime Safety and Security Teams which deploy to secure ports and harbors from terrorist attack, and their Maritime Security Response Teams that specialize in maritime counterterrorism operations. The Direct Action Section of the MSRT are probably as good in close quarters combat in a shipboard environment as anyone out their including the SEALs (although keep in mind the SEALs perform many more missions than that).

Basically a USCG flag officer makes far more sense as head of DHS than any general or flag officer who spent an entire career in DoD. The Coastie admiral will already know how DHS works, and more importantly how it doesn’t work and will already have definite ideas about how to unscrew the department. Kelly will have a lot to learn. No slam against him, I’m sure he’ll learn what he needs to do the job. But no matter how much he learns a Coastie admiral will have forgotten more than that after seven years in retirement and will STILL know more about the homeland security mission then Kelly ever will.

    lpdbw in reply to Arminius. | December 7, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    My Coastie brother would, I’m sure, be happy about your praise for his former organization. He was in a port security unit, as it happens, though that was back in the Vietnam era.

    I think you’re underestimating the ability of a Marine General to understand the value of integrating disparate forces and viewpoints into solving a systemic problem. Especially one who ran United States Southern Command…

    The currently serving USCG admirals will now report to him. As a new broom, it is in their best interests to brief him properly an offer their knowledge and suggestions. Or else, they may be swept away themselves.

    If their suggestions and plans are good enough, they get to be in place to implement them, too.

      Arminius in reply to lpdbw. | December 7, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      In my twenty years in the Navy I’ve worked with far more Marines than Coasties. Not only do we work together, we go to the same schools. I’m not underestimating the Marines, in particular this Marine general. He did command SOUTHCOM. When I deployed to provide intel support to counternarcotics I ultimately worked for SOUTHCOM, so GEN Kelly is going to be familiar with many of the unconventional threats I mentioned above.

      But one command tour as SOUTHCOM does not give him the same level of expertise that a career in the USCG would provide. Kelly is a good choice. A USCG admiral would have been better.

        I have high regard for Coasties, who have enormous skills and responsibilities, but two items jump out

        1. The size of the Coast Guard limits the number of senior officials even compared to the lean structure of the Marine Corps.

        2. That the Coast Guard is part of DHS can be a detriment. The President elect wants to radically reshape the organization and that can require an outsider.

          Arminius in reply to Dr P. | December 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

          The Coast Guard is authorized 43 active duty flag officers. True, that’s a smaller number than the USMC. But still the number of retired admirals is large enough to produce one DHS secretary.

          I’m sure Mattis is going to shake up DoD, and he’s not an outsider. At least not technically. The Marines have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. But still, Mattis spent his entire 44 year career in DoD.

          DHS didn’t even exist until 2002. It’s going to be decades until you can say the same thing about a USCG flag officer that you can say about Mattis. I just looked at the most recent USCG register of officers I could find (2014). We are just now approaching the point where the most junior flag officer on active duty today has spent approximately half their career in DHS. And I doubt even those guys feel much attachment to DHS. When I was working with them I never knew a Coastie who took any paricular pride in being a component of the DoT. They took pride in the Coast Guard.

          The USCG, in the form of the Revenue Cutter Service, has been around since 1790. And, one more time for emphasis, DHS has only been around since 2002. No retired Coast Guard admiral who spent maybe the last five or ten years of a 35 or 40 year career is going to hesitate to make radical changes to that upstart organization. I don’t doubt some of them would recommend scrapping DHS entirely and starting over. No Coastie is going to lose any sleep over that; it’s not as if DHS goes away, then the Coast Guard goes away.

          So I think the idea that a USCG admiral would be a sub-optimal choice because they’re somehow DHS insiders is way overblown. If you have a problem with a USCG flag officer as DHS Secretary you should have the same problem with Mattis as Defense Secretary. And I don’t have that problem. I still know some Coasties. I don’t know any Coastie who considers themselves a DHS insider.

          I’m just going to leave it here. I have no problem with Kelly at DHS. As I said, I think he’s a good choice. But I still think a Coast Guard flag officer, the right flag officer, would be a better choice. As I said in my original comment they’ve been performing the homeland security mission before there was a Department of Homeland Security. They’ve been doing ti for a century now. I still haven’t heard a really good reason why anyone wouldn’t want a Coast Guard admiral heading DHS.

The cool thing about Kelly is that he was enlisted before becoming an officer. That alone makes me like the guy.

buckeyeminuteman | December 8, 2016 at 1:05 pm

It’s a good thing he knows more about ISIS than the generals do, he’s got 3 of them on his staff!