WATCH LIVE: James Mattis confirmation hearing

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The confirmation hearing for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense, is set for Thursday.

Mattis is a four-star military officer who distinguished himself in combat in the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some critics say he falls short of the diplomatic experience expected for the position.

Michael Gordon of The New York Times called Mattis an “unconventional choice” for the position, partly because the general retired as chief of Central Command in 2013, leaving about a three-year gap in military service.

READ MORE: A guide to this week’s confirmation hearings: Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson and more

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