The full Senate approved a waiver for Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis Thursday afternoon by a vote of 81-17, according to a Senate Armed Services Committee spokesperson. SASC had approved the measure earlier in the day by a vote of 24-3. The House Armed Services Committee also approved the waiver Thursday, by a vote of 34-28, according to a HASC spokesperson. The full House is expected to vote on the bill tomorrow. Mattis’ confirmation requires a waiver because federal law stipulates a Defense Secretary must be retired from Active Duty military service for seven years before serving in the top civilian job at the Pentagon. Mattis retired from the US Marine Corps in 2013.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.