General Jim Mattis

Davies Family Distinguished Fellow
Biography: 

General Jim Mattis, US Marine Corps (Ret.), is the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow, after having served with distinction as the nation’s 26th Secretary of Defense in the administration.

In December of 2016, President Donald J. Trump nominated Mattis for Secretary of Defense and he was confirmed a month later. Mattis left Hoover to apply his extraordinary knowledge and experience to help the President shape his national defense policy.

General Mattis commanded at multiple levels in his forty-three year career as an infantry Marine. As a lieutenant in the western Pacific, he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander in the Third Marine Division. As a captain in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, he commanded a rifle company and a weapons company in the First Marine Brigade. As a major he was the battalion officer at the Naval Academy Prep School and commanded Marine recruiters in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. As a lieutenant colonel he commanded an assault battalion breaching the Iraqi minefields in Operation Desert Storm. As a colonel he commanded 7th Marine Regiment and, on Pentagon duty, he served as the Department of Defense Executive Secretary. As a brigadier general he was the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Following 9-11 he commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. As a major general, he commanded the First Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq. In his first tour as a lieutenant general, he was in charge of Marine Corps Combat Development at Quantico and subsequently served as Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force/Commander, U.S. Marine Forces in the Middle East. As a general he served concurrently as the Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation.

Before retiring in 2013 he was the Commander of U.S. Central Command, directing military operations of over 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and allied forces across the Middle East. He is co-editor of the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.

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Recent Commentary

Intellections

Think Before You Act: Defining The Political End State

by General Jim Mattis, Kori Schakevia PolicyEd.org
Monday, October 17, 2016
When we decide we need to take military action, how do we make sure we do it right? Whether it’s fighting against ISIS in the Middle East, driving the Iraqis out of Kuwait, or confronting the Axis Powers in World War II, every military campaign should start with a very clear idea of how we want the situation to end – what we call a “clearly defined political end state.”
Featured

A Blueprint For American Security

by Kori Schake, General Jim Mattis, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr. via San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Russia invades Ukraine, shaking the post-World War II European order. China chips away at others’ sovereignty in Asia. The war in Iraq, nearly won by 2010, and the war in Afghanistan grind on. Terrorism seems everywhere metastasizing. If the world feels more dangerous to you, it should.

Featured

Warriors & Citizens: American Views Of Our Military

by Kori Schake, General Jim Mattisvia Real Clear Defense
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

We undertook this project to better understand attitudes of the American public about their military forty years into having an all-volunteer force and after fifteen years of being continuously at war.

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Warriors and Citizens

by General Jim Mattis, Kori Schakevia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Fifteen prominent experts on civil-military relations analyze data from the largest survey since 1998 of American public attitudes about military issues in order to explore the ways the public is losing connection to its military.

Intellections

No Empty Threats: Establishing Credibility In Foreign Affairs

by General Jim Mattis, Kenneth A. Schultzvia PolicyEd.org
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Often our words can replace the need for action in foreign affairs, but only if our allies and enemies believe what we say. Strength and diplomacy don’t happen without credibility. That comes from following through on what we’ll say do and never making empty threats.

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“You Built Your Own Monument”

by General Jim Mattisvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 16, 2015

General James Mattis speaks to his fellow vets.

Charles Hill and General James Mattis on the Iran Deal, Democracy, and Freedom
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Charles Hill And General James Mattis On The Iran Deal, Democracy, And Freedom

interview with Charles Hill, General Jim Mattisvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Recorded on  July 16, 2015 - Hoover fellows Charles Hill and James Mattis discuss the Iran deal and the state of the world on Uncommon Knowledge with Hoover fellow Peter Robinson. In their view the United States has handed over its leading role to Iran and provided a dowry along with it. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Meaning Of Their Service

by General Jim Mattisvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, April 17, 2015

A retired four-star Marine Corps general on the clarifying effect of combat experience, the poison of cynicism and how veterans can help revive American optimism.

US flag on military helmet

The Meaning of Their Service

by General Jim Mattis
Friday, April 17, 2015

A retired four-star Marine Corps general on the clarifying effect of combat experience, the poison of cynicism and how veterans can help revive American optimism.

Hoover fellow Peter Robinson interviews Jim Hake and General Jim Mattis
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Jim Hake, General Jim Mattis, And Spirit Of America

interview with Jim Hake, General Jim Mattisvia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, March 13, 2015

Spirit of America began in 2003, and the idea gained enormous support, including from General Jim Mattis, commander of some of the first missions in Iraq. Today, Spirit of America is working around the world, providing assistance in response to local needs identified by our troops, from sewing machines to vocational training, wherever there is a need.

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