Trump Picks Marine General, Top Gun Pilot as Secret Service Director

Randolph Alles, of the Customs and Border Protection's Office testifies during a Senate Homeland Security hearing on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Randolph Alles, of the Customs and Border Protection's Office testifies during a Senate Homeland Security hearing on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A retired Marine Corps two-star general will be the next director of the United States Secret Service, the White House announced Tuesday.

President Donald Trump picked retired major general and current acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Randolph "Tex" Alles for the post, adding another prominent Marine veteran to an administration rapidly filling with them.

Alles served in the Marine Corps for 35 years as a naval aviator, serving as an instructor at the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School -- better known as Top Gun -- over the course of his career.

According to an official biography, he earned his wings in 1976 and went on to fly five different fighter airframes during his service: the F-4 Phantom II, the Northrop F-5, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F/A-18 Hornet and the A-4 Skyhawk. In these aircraft, he amassed more than 5,000 flight hours, 300 of them in combat, according to the biography.

His positions of leadership within the Corps included command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and of Al Asad Air Base in Iraq; commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and vice chief of Naval Research; and director for Strategic Planning and Policy at U.S. Pacific Command, among others.

Alles' military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" device and Gold Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, the Air Medal with strike/flight numeral 3, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, according to his official biography.

He was recommended to lead the Secret Service by John F. Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security and a retired Marine four-star general who served as his contemporary, The New York Times reported.

Alles comes to the position after a multi-year series of scandals for the Secret Service that have eroded the secretive law enforcement agency's public image.

A 2012 incident in which multiple agents were found to have solicited prostitutes in Colombia while on official business for then-President Barack Obama prompted congressional hearings and a wave of firings. More recently, in 2014, three agents were sent back to the U.S. after drunken behavior in the Netherlands ahead of a presidential visit.

Other incidents highlight apparent holes in security provided by the Secret Service. Last month, a man jumped the White House fence and was able to trespass on the grounds for 17 minutes before he was discovered, a security breach that Kelly took particular interest in, according to Times reports.

And in 2014, a mentally unstable man was able to climb over the fence on the White House's north lawn and charge through the front door without being apprehended.

Alles will be at least the fourth Marine general to take a prominent position in the Trump administration, joining Kelly; Defense Secretary and retired Marine four-star Jim Mattis; and active-duty Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

Show Full Article

Related Topics

Marine Corps Donald Trump