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


Gen. Jim Mattis On War And Trump

interview with General Jim Mattisvia CBS News
Sunday, September 1, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow James Mattis discusses his life and his over 40 years in the military.

In the News

The Man Trump Wishes He Were

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The New York Times
Thursday, August 29, 2019

In the first few months of his presidency, Donald Trump surrounded himself with a certain sort of ramrod military man: John Kelly, Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis. These men had or appeared to have the kind of manly virtues and bearing that Trump likes to see in himself: courage, toughness, combativeness.


Jim Mattis: Duty, Democracy And The Threat Of Tribalism

by General Jim Mattisvia The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

In late November 2016, I was enjoying Thanksgiving break in my hometown on the Columbia River in Washington state when I received an unexpected call from Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Would I meet with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss the job of secretary of defense?

General Jim Mattis bio photo
In the News

Jim Mattis’ New Book ‘Call Sign Chaos’ Comes Out In July

featuring General Jim Mattisvia American Military News
Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Former Secretary of Defense and Marine Gen. James Mattis has co-written a book that will be released in July. The book titled, “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” is due to hit the shelves on July 16, and is an extensive retelling of Mattis’ military career, including Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, and the lessons he learned from those experiences, the Associated Press reported.

General Jim Mattis bio photo

Ex-Trump Defense Secretary Mattis Back At Tri-Cities Food Bank. VJ Meadows Is New Director

featuring General Jim Mattis
Thursday, May 16, 2019

Jim Mattis has rejoined the board of the Tri-Cities Food Bank, one of several posts the retired Marine general and Richland native left when President Donald Trump nominated him for Secretary of Defense after the 2016 election.

In the News

Jim Mattis To Speak At Annual Washington Policy Center Fundraiser In Spokane This Fall

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Spokesman Review
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Jim Mattis, a former Marine general and President Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense, will come to Spokane this fall as the keynote speaker at a fundraiser for a conservative business organization.

General Jim Mattis: What Should We Do About Iran?
In the News

Mattis Returning To Research Role At Stanford Think Tank

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Washington Post
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jim Mattis, who resigned as Pentagon chief three months ago, is returning to Stanford University.

In the News

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis To Return To Hoover Institution

featuring General Jim Mattisvia US News
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

After an acrimonious split with the Trump administration, Mattis will return to the conservative-leaning think tank where he found a home after leaving active duty service.

In the News

Mattis Returning To Stanford Months After Pentagon Resignation

featuring General Jim Mattisvia The Hill
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned from the Pentagon's top post in December, is returning to the job he had before joining the Trump administration, Stanford University's Hoover Institution announced Tuesday. Mattis will start May 1 as the Davies Family distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution.

In the News

Mattis Returning To Research Role At Stanford Think Tank

featuring General Jim Mattisvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jim Mattis, who resigned as Pentagon chief three months ago, is returning to Stanford University. The Hoover Institution at Stanford announced Tuesday that Mattis will join the public policy think tank to research and write about domestic and international security policy. He was in the same role at Hoover when President Donald Trump nominated him to be secretary of defense in December 2016.