The Trump administration may be considering replacing retired Lt.-Gen. James B. Mattis with a war-time “lollipop-flipper” as its top military officer, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
The new secretary of Defense, John F. Kelly, is expected to announce the pick at a ceremony at the Pentagon on Thursday.
Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general and the highest-ranking military officer to resign in his tenure.
Kelly is a Republican who served as secretary for President Donald Trump’s first two years in office.
He was nominated by President Trump in early 2018.
The Pentagon would not confirm whether Mattis would be chosen to lead the department, saying only that the president is “pleased with the choices being considered.”
Mattis, who has served in both the Army and the Navy, retired in 2017.
He retired from the Marine Corps in 2017 after 25 years as the commander of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, in Afghanistan.
Kelly was named to his post in March.
He joined the Army in 1978 and commanded the 3rd Marine Division from 1986 to 1990, becoming the highest ranking military officer in the U.S. to resign since President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974.
Trump has long railed against the Pentagon’s “decisive, strategic, and decisive” approach to Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, said last week.
In his first public comments since taking office, Ghani said the military is “fighting hard and winning,” adding that the Afghan army and the Afghan security forces have “done a great job.”
Mattis has faced criticism from some Democrats for his failure to provide the Afghan government with a sufficient amount of support for its fight against the Taliban.
He has also faced criticism for his views on Afghan refugees.
The retired general was also criticized by the U:S.
Chamber of Commerce, which said Mattis “should be commended for his commitment to a more responsible, secure and sustainable security environment in Afghanistan.”
He also faces criticism from the American Legion, which has said he “has proven time and time again that he cannot and will not be able to lead our country in any meaningful way.”
The White House has repeatedly said the Pentagon is working on a plan to address the needs of Afghan refugees and the Taliban, who have been waging a war against the Afghan and U.N.-backed government in Kabul since 2001.
Trump also has said the United States should consider sending the Afghan troops back to the battlefield.
The White Hill reported on Thursday that Trump is considering ordering the U