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President-elect Trump early Monday officially announced his plan to nominate retired Gen. John Kelly as the next leader of the Department of Homeland Security.

Kelly is the former commander of U.S. Southern Command, which oversaw military operations in Central and South America. Trump said that experience gives him a unique look on protecting the U.S.’s southern border.

“Gen. John Kelly’s decades of military service and deep commitment to fighting the threat of terrorism inside our borders makes him the ideal choice to serve as our Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Trump said in a statement. “He is the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders, streamlining TSA and improving coordination between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”

Trump added, “With Gen. Kelly at the helm of DHS, the American people will have a leader committed to our safety as well as one who will work hand-in-hand with America’s rank-and-file TSA, ICE and Border Patrol officers.”



Kelly first joined the Marines in 1970, served for two years and then left to attend college. Following graduation, he rejoined the Marines in 1976 and served until retiring from the military until earlier this year.

Kelly said he’s excited to get to work as secretary of homeland security, and he’s glad to be back serving Americans.

“The American people voted in this election to stop terrorism, take back sovereignty at our borders, and put a stop to political correctness that for too long has dictated our approach to national security,” Kelly said. “I will tackle those issues with a seriousness of purpose and a deep respect for our laws and Constitution. I am honored for the opportunity to be back in the service to our country, and our people.”

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