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 the author of the New York Times bestseller, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, and the co-editor of the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

Call Sign Chaos: Leading From The Front

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Daily Times
Monday, September 16, 2019

Former U.S. Defense Secretary, retired Marine General James Mattis, with Francis (“Bing”) West, authored a remarkable book on leadership applicable well beyond the frontiers of military service. Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead is a modern day equivalent of Marcus Aurelius’ Emperor’s Handbook. CHAOS, Mattis’ Marine Corps call sign, arose from an irreverent compliment for “colonel has another outstanding solution” made by his staff. I have had the good fortune of knowing both authors.

In the News

'Arrogance': Mattis Co-Author Bing West Says US Efforts To Transform Iraq And Afghanistan Were Doomed

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Washington Examiner
Sunday, September 15, 2019

When Henry Kissinger told James Mattis he should write a book about his more than four decades in the Marine Corps, it was no surprise he chose fellow Marine Bing West to help him. West, 79, the author of 10 books about combat, had known Mattis for nearly two decades by the time he was tapped to be the co-author of Call Sign Chaos, a memoir which weaves leadership lessons with Mattis' experiences in the military.

In the News

Gen. Jim Mattis Talks About His New Book, ‘Call Sign Chaos,’ To Capacity Crowd At Nixon Library

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The OCR
Saturday, September 14, 2019

The East Room of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library was filled to capacity Friday evening, Sept. 13, as former Defense Secretary and four-star Marine General Jim Mattis discussed his newly released memoir, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.”

In the News

James Mattis On Why Call Sign Chaos Isn't A Political Book About The Trump Administration

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Time Magazine
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Although he took pains to avoid on-camera interviews and press briefings during his 23-month tenure as Defense Secretary, James Mattis has embraced the media circuit rounds to promote his new book Call Sign Chaos.

In the News

Jim Mattis On Osama Bin Laden, How Ancient History Guides His Modern Strategy, And His Pithy Aphorisms

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Washington Examiner
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Legendary military commander retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis is on a whirlwind publicity tour promoting his book Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, which he co-authored with Bing West.
In the News

In Chicago, Former Defense Secretary James Mattis Recounts 9/11, Warns Of Internal Divisions As Threat To Nation

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Chicago Tribune
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Appearing in Chicago on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, former Defense Secretary James Mattis recalled how he first heard about the terrorist attacks on his car radio while a brigadier general in the Marines, newly arrived at Camp Pendleton from a senior post in the Pentagon.

In the News

Mattis Says U.S. Needs ‘Boots On The Ground’ In Afghanistan

quoting General Jim Mattisvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said America needs to keep forces in Afghanistan for now to prevent terrorists including al-Qaeda from regrouping and posing a threat to the U.S.

In the News

U.S. Should Side With Hong Kong Protesters, Says Ex-Pentagon Chief Jim Mattis

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Japan Times
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday anti-government protests in Hong Kong were “not an internal” Chinese matter and that the United States should offer at least moral support to the demonstrators.

In the News

U.S. Should Side With Hong Kong Protesters, Says Ex-Pentagon Chief Mattis

quoting General Jim Mattisvia Reuters
Monday, September 9, 2019

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday anti-government protests in Hong Kong were “not an internal” Chinese matter and that the United States should offer at least moral support to the demonstrators.

Interviews

Former Secretary Of Defense Jim Mattis On Bloomberg Best

interview with General Jim Mattisvia Bloomberg
Monday, September 9, 2019

(23:17) Hoover Institution fellow Jim Mattis discusses his new book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead. Mattis notes that we still need boots on the ground in Afghanistan.

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