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Before Donald Trump takes his seat in Washington come January, the president-elect has already kept himself busy filling up his Cabinet.

Among the early nominations, people are noting that Trump’s cabinet seems to have a leaning towards retired generals. Top positions, at that.

Citizens have varying opinions on what it means for Trump’s Cabinet to have so many military officials. Despite the talk, CBS News’ Major Garrett reported that Mr. Trump is having second thoughts about including more than three generals in top positions.

As of now, the president-elect has already filled up his self-set quota. He picked retired Army Lt. General Michael Flynn as his National Security Adviser. For Defense Secretary, Trump chose retired General James Mattis.

Meanwhile, retired Marine General John Kelly found a place in Trump’s Cabinet as the secretary for Homeland Security.

With the quota filled, odds seemed bleak for retired General David Petraeus. The general had been one of Trump’s top picks for Secretary of State, but lost to ExxonMobil CEO Rex W. Tillerson.

But what do all of these generals in the cabinet mean for Donald Trump?

Not the First

Trump cabinetGeneral Jim Jones served as President Barack Obama’s first national security adviser. Photo credit: Wikimedia

Despite the criticism, it’s been duly noted that Trump’s Cabinet isn’t the first to have several generals in top positions. Confused individuals might not have noticed that multiple precedents exist.

In fact, Retired four-star Marine General Jim Jones served as Mr. Obama’s first national security adviser. He also served as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe under President George W. Bush. 

Retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen became President Obama’s U.S. envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). And finally, he nominated retired four-star Army Gen. Eric Shinseki for secretary of veterans affairs.

Given these facts, is there a strategic reason behind choosing men in uniform to help the president? I think so. 

Why Include the Army in the Cabinet?

Generals in cabinetMen in uniform have a special loyalty and love to the nation. Photo credit: US Defense Watch

Military top brass often end up in these kinds of positions, making sense out of Trump’s Cabinet picks. On December 8th, David French of the National Review, pointed out one sound reason. “[I]n an era when trust for government and other civic institutions is plunging, the military has retained strong public support.”

“Support our troops” is a consistent call for American people, no matter who the president is. Trust for the government and its officials may waiver, but Americans will always back their soldiers. With retired army generals in the position, it’s one way for the incumbent president to maintain public trust.

The biggest criticism remains on the subject of the Defense Secretary. Trump is asking for a waiver to allow General Mattis to serve in this position. In 1947, the Department of Defense required military officials serving as Secretary of Defense to be seven years out of active duty.

According to Democratic Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, “Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.” It will be interesting to how many others attempt to block a sound decision for our country. After the last eight years, we are in desperate need of strong leadership. 

What do you think about Mr. Trump’s cabinet choices coming from a military background?