Trump to pick retired Gen. Kelly for Homeland Security: CBS
General John Kelly (Youtube)

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Marine General John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, CBS News reported on Wednesday.

Kelly, the former head of the U.S. Southern Command, has accepted the offer, CBS said, citing unidentified sources.

Reuters has not independently confirmed the choice.

Kelly, 66, would be the third general Trump has tapped for a high-level position in his administration.

The Republican president-elect, who has no military experience, planned to nominate retired General James Mattis to lead the Department of Defense and picked retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser.

Kelly differed with Democratic President Barack Obama on key issues and has warned of vulnerabilities along the United States' southern border with Mexico.

As head of the U.S. Southern Command, his final leadership post in a 45-year military career, Kelly was responsible for U.S. military activities and relationships in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Although Kelly’s military experience may give him insight into overseas threats, like drug trafficking or Islamic extremism, it will do little to prepare him for the legal and political complexities of grappling with a sprawling agency that oversees everything from airport security to protecting against cyber threats and responding to domestic crises.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Warren Strobel; Editing by W Simon and Jonathan Oatis)