General Jim Mattis

Davies Family Distinguished Fellow

General Jim Mattis, US Marine Corps (Ret.), is the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow, after having served 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 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.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

In the News

Mattis Offers Good Advice This Veterans Day

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Home Town Source
Friday, November 8, 2019
Five or more years ago, Camp Ripley held a program to honor veterans of the Vietnam War. By bureaucratic definition, I am officially a Vietnam vet, having visited the war zone numerous times during my 31 months on active duty.
US flag on military helmet
In the News

James Mattis Explains The Biggest Problems Facing America’s Military In New Book

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Daily Caller
Friday, November 1, 2019

What follows is an excerpt from Guy Snodgrass’ new book Holding The Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattis. Sndograss, Mattis’s former chief speechwriter and chief of communications, chronicles his time under Gen. James Mattis while the latter served as Secretary of Defense during the administration of President Donald Trump from January 2017 to January 2019. Snodgrass provides insight into Gen. Mattis’s views on the U.S. military, the position of the U.S. in the world and on the president.

In the News

Mattis On US Message To Terrorists From Baghdadi Raid: ‘We’ll Find You And Kill You’

quoting General Jim Mattisvia The Washington Examiner
Monday, October 28, 2019

Jim Mattis commended the American troops who followed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi “to the ends of the earth” to kill the terrorist leader.


James Mattis: The Founding Virtue Of Our Country

by General Jim Mattisvia Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sunday, October 27, 2019

As I studied Al Smith, I had to look him up and learn more about him. I found what we find in many great leaders — Abe Lincoln, FDR. It's a focus on making our country a little better when we hand it to the next generation, and having a nonpartisan approach to team-building.

In the News

Exclusive: Mattis Could Receive Congressional Gold Medal Under Newhouse Proposal

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Tri-City Herald
Thursday, October 24, 2019

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse will introduce legislation Monday to award former Defense Secretary James Mattis the Congressional Gold Medal. The award has previously been bestowed on George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur and Harry S Truman.

In the News

Mattis Tells His Hometown Veterans What The Tri-Cities Can Teach To A Divided Nation

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Tri-City Herald
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Jim Mattis made no bones about his feelings about being free from Washington, D.C. “I just flew back in from Washington, D.C., so I came here with mixed emotions, I’m so happy I could cry,” he told the hometown crowd shortly after getting a rousing ovation at the Three Rivers Convention Center on Tuesday. “Home is probably the best four-letter word in the English language.”

In the News

General Mattis: Nation Must Remember ‘Core Principles We Used to Know, Live By’

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Catholic New York
Friday, October 18, 2019

Now is the time to remember “the core principles we used to know and live by and that we now seem to have forgotten,” according to retired Marine Gen. James Mattis. The former secretary of defense said America is not a finished work or a failed project but an ongoing experiment for which all bear a responsibility, including the responsibility to repair.

In the News

Mattis To Honor Tri-Cities Vietnam Vets — A Welcome 50 Years In The Making

mentioning General Jim Mattisvia Tri-City Herald
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Vietnam veterans will be welcomed home belatedly with a celebration in Kennewick 50 years after the height of America’s commitment to the war.


Jim Mattis Warns ISIS Could Resurge: 'Enemy Gets The Vote' After Trump's Announced Troop Pullout

interview with General Jim Mattisvia NBC News
Saturday, October 12, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow James Mattis warned that the president's decision to pull troops from Syria's border in advance of a Turkish incursion could have dire consequences and lead to ISIS's resurgence.

In the News

When Doing More Means Purposefully Doing Less: The Power Of Stillness

quoting General Jim Mattisvia Inc.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

I shake my head and smile every time Ryan Holiday sends me an advance copy of his latest book. Even though his skill as a writer makes me feel weighed, measured, and found wanting, I immediately put down whatever I was reading and dive right in.