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Gen. Mattis will be the Secretary of Defense

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The retired general came to Capitol Hill today to face questions from the Senate Armed Services committee.

The big story: Mattis cleared his main hurdle today, securing Senate support for a waiver allowing him to speed up the waiting process for retired military officers to become Secretary of Defense. The vote wasn't close, at 81 to 17.

What's next: A House vote on the waiver, and a Senate vote on confirmation. He'll pass both. (Hearing recaps below.)