General Jim Mattis, the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hoover and former commander of US Central Command, has been nominated to serve as the twenty-sixth secretary of defense in the administration of President-Elect Donald Trump.
Mattis commanded at multiple levels during his forty-three year career as an infantry marine. He led an assault battalion in Operation Desert Storm, and served as the Department of Defense executive secretary and as the senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. Following 9/11, he commanded in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and later during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq. As a general, he served concurrently as the commander of US Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s supreme allied commander for transformation. At US Central Command (CENTCOM), he directed military operations of over 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, and allied forces across the Middle East.
Mattis first joined Hoover as an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow in 2013 and was later named the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow. As a Hoover fellow, he has applied his experience to national security issues with a focus on strategy, innovation, and the effective use of military force in the Middle East. He is also a member of Hoover’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict.
One of his most significant research areas is the growing separation between America’s civilian population and its military. He recently coedited the Hoover Institution Press book Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military, which analyzes the findings of a landmark survey led by Mattis and his coeditor, Research Fellow Kori Schake, of civilian attitudes toward the armed forces.
The Hoover Institution applauds Mattis as he takes this opportunity to apply his extraordinary knowledge and experience in shaping national defense policy. In a recent statement on the nomination, Thomas W. Gilligan, Tad and Dianne Taube Director at the Hoover Institution, remarked:
I congratulate President-Elect Trump on the nomination of our esteemed colleague, General James Mattis, as Secretary of Defense. There’s no one better suited to guide our military and nation in these consequential times. We wish General Mattis the best of luck in his new endeavor and commend President-Elect Trump on choosing one of the smartest minds and strategic thinkers of our time.
Mattis’s nomination is the latest in a long history of presidents and other national policymakers tapping Hoover fellows for senior policy roles. We are pleased to share below recent publications and videos featuring Mattis that illustrate the insights he will bring to US policy as Secretary of Defense. To view a full list of Mattis’s work as a Hoover fellow, visit his Hoover.org bio page.
- “General Jim Mattis Brings Insight And Clarity To The Nature Of War,” an episode of Hoover’s Uncommon Knowledge featuring Mattis.
- Think Before You Act, an educational video featured at Hoover’s PolicyEd.org based on research by Mattis and Research Fellow Kori Schake.
- “Restoring our National Security,” a chapter in Hoover’s new volume on national policy solutions, Blueprint for America, which Mattis coauthored with Hoover fellows George P. Shultz and Kori Schake.
- Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military, coedited with Research Fellow Kori Schake.
- “A Blueprint for American Security,” a recent op-ed by Mattis and Schake appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle.
- "The Meaning Of Their Service," This article was adapted from remarks for the fourth annual salute to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans at the Marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco on April 16, 2015.
- “A New American Grand Strategy,” authored by Mattis and featured in Hoover’s online publication Defining Ideas.
- “With Rifle and Bibliography: General Mattis on Professional Reading,” a blog post by military historian Jill Russell that shares his views about why it is important for officers to read and to study.
Last month Mattis took part in a Veterans Day ceremony to honor two Stanford alumni, Marines Ryan McGlothlin, MS ’03, and Michael Weston, BA ’94, BS ’94, who lost their lives while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The men are now memorialized on the Wall of Honor in the lobby of Memorial Auditorium.