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Senate votes to officially confirm Trump’s first cabinet appointment

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 8, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

General James "Mad Dog" Mattis has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the new Secretary of Defense.

Mattis retired from service with the Marine Corps in 2013, and current law prevents those who have served as a military officer in in the last seven years from leading the Defense Department. The law exists to give the leader a broader perspective and maintain civilian control of the military.

Shortly after being sworn in as 45th president of the United States of America, President Donald Trump signed a waiver that was already passed by Congress allowing Mattis a one-time exception to bypass the seven year rule. Once Trump signed the waiver into law, the Senate held a vote Friday evening where Mattis was confirmed by 98 senators voting in favor of his confirmation.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was the only lawmaker to oppose Mattis' confirmation as Secretary of Defense. Gillibrand's spokesman stated several days ago that Gillibrand was opposed to the waiver because she strongly believes a civilian should be in charge of the department.

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