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President Donald Trump has signed legislation that clears the way for his defense secretary pick — retired Marine Gen. James Mattis — to run the Pentagon, if confirmed by the Senate.

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A vote on Mattis is expected Friday.

There’s a law that bars former service members who’ve been out of uniform for less than seven years from holding the top Pentagon job. The restriction is meant to preserve civilian control of the military.

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The measure signed by Trump soon after his took office grants Mattis a one-time exception.

Congress last allowed an exception to the law in 1950 for George Marshall, a former five-star Army general.

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