Defense Secretary James Mattis will retire at the end of February, President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday.
While the announcement came as a surprise, it has long been expected that Mattis would depart the Trump administration sometime after the November midterms. The move also comes amid uncertainty over the removal of U.S. troops from Syria, a decision Trump made over the advice of many military advisers.
“General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations,” Trump tweeted. “A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly.”
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