Trump appoints James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as Secretary of Defence

Donald Trump appoints Obama critic as military chief (Getty)
Donald Trump appoints Obama critic as military chief (Getty)

US President-elect Donald Trump continues to ring in the changes as he prepares to take control of the White House, appointing a fierce Obama detractor as his new defence secretary.

General James Mattis has earned himself the nicknames 'Mad Dog' and 'Warrior Monk' on account of his hardy and long-lasting military career.

He served in the Marine Corps for more than 40 years and often finds himself in the midst of controversy for his hostile language, once saying it was "fun to shoot some people".

In a speech in Cincinatti, which was the first stop on a 'Thank You' tour for his supporters, Donald Trump told them: "We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our Secretary of Defense."

The 66-year-old general was a strong critic of Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East - especially in Iran, which he describes as being "the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East".

He also claims that there has been no "overall strategy" by the US in the Middle East, and that issues in the region have been handled ineffectively.

To take up the position, Mattis will need to get a special exemption from Congress that allows him to bypass a federal law that states defence secretaries cannot have been on duty in the military in the preceding seven years.

Such an exemption has been made only once, 66 years ago. It remains unclear how difficult it will be to obtain the constitutional pardon from Congress.