James N. Mattis
 
 
 
 
Secretary of Defense
James N. Mattis

James N. Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who last served as the 11th Commander of United States Central Command, the Unified Combatant Command responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa and Central Asia, from August 11, 2010 to March 22, 2013. On December 1, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that Mattis would be nominated to serve as United States Secretary of Defense in the coming administration.
James N. Mattis Facts
  • Mattis supports a two-state solution model for Israel-Palestinian peace. He says the current situation in Israel is "unsustainable" and argues that the settlements harm prospects for peace and could theoretically lead to an apartheid-like situation in the West Bank. In particular, he believes the lack of a two-state solution is upsetting to the Arab allies of America, which weakens US esteem amongst its Arab allies. Mattis strongly supports John Kerry on the Middle East peace process, praising Kerry for being "wisely focused like a laser-beam" towards a two-state solution.
  • While serving in Afghanistan as a brigadier general, he was known as an officer who engaged his men with "real leadership". A young Marine officer named Nathaniel Fick cited an example of that leadership when he witnessed Mattis in a fighting hole talking with a sergeant and lance corporal: "No one would have questioned Mattis if he'd slept eight hours each night in a private room, to be woken each morning by an aide who ironed his uniforms and heated his MREs. But there he was, in the middle of a freezing night, out on the lines with his Marines."
  • Following a U.S. Department of Defense survey that showed only 55% of American soldiers and 40% of U.S. Marines would report a colleague for abusing civilians, Mattis told U.S. Marines in May 2007 that "Whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it's a victory for al-Qaeda and other insurgents." Reflecting an understanding of the need for restraint in war as key to defeating an insurgency, he added that "Every time you wave at an Iraqi civilian, al-Qaeda rolls over in its grave."
  • As his division prepared to ship out, Mattis called in experts on the Middle East for cultural sensitivity training. He constantly toured the battlefield to tell stories of Marines who were able to show discretion in moments of high pressure. As an apparent example, he encouraged his Marines to grow mustaches to look more like the people they were working with.
  • After being promoted to lieutenant general, Mattis took command of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. On February 1, 2005, speaking ad libitum at a forum in San Diego, he said "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling." Mattis's remarks sparked controversy; General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a statement suggesting Mattis should have chosen his words more carefully, but would not be disciplined.
  • Since retirement from the military, Mattis has worked for FWA Consultants and also serves as a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors. In August 2013, he became an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution and has since been named as their Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
  • Since 2013, Mattis has been a board member of the controversial Silicon Valley biotech company Theranos, whose corporate governance practices have been criticized. Previously, in mid-2012, a Department of Defense official evaluating Theranos' blood-testing technology for military initiated a formal inquiry with the Food and Drug Administration about the company's intent to distribute its tests without FDA clearance. In August 2012, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes asked Mattis, who had expressed interest in testing Theranos' technology in combat areas, to help. Within hours, Mattis forwarded his email exchange with Holmes to military officials, asking "how do we overcome this new obstacle." In a July 2013 letter from the Department of Defense approving his possible employment by Theranos, Mattis was given permission with conditions. He was cautioned to do so only if he did not represent Theranos with regards to the blood testing device and its potential acquisition by the Departments of the Navy or Defense. According to the Wall Street Journal, Theranos is under criminal investigation.
  • Mattis is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College. Mattis is also noted for his intellectualism and interest in the study of military history and world history, with a personal library that once included over 7,000 volumes, and a penchant for publishing required reading lists for Marines under his command.
  • Mattis is a lifelong bachelor, who has never been married and has no children. He is nicknamed "The Warrior Monk" because of his bachelor life and lifelong devotion to the study of war. He is known for the intellectual rigor he instills in his Marines, risk-management, and requiring his Marines to be well read regarding the culture and history in regions of the world where they are deployed. Before deploying to Iraq, Mattis had his Marines undergo cultural sensitivity training.
Opinion

James seems to be a real mix, a bit of good and bad. His intellectual approach to the military is commendable while his flippant attitude towards killing is not. All things considered, the fact that Mattis supports a two-state solution model for Israel-Palestinian peace, is unacceptable and got him the BAD EGG AWARD.
Secretary of Defense

The Secretary of Defense is the leader and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense, an Executive Department of the Government of the United States of America. The Secretary of Defense's power over the United States military is second only to that of the President. The Secretary of Defense is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and is by custom a member of the Cabinet and by law a member of the National Security Council. Secretary of Defense is a statutory office, and the general provision in 10 U.S.C. § 113 provides that the Secretary of Defense has "authority, direction and control over the Department of Defense", and is further designated by the same statute as "the principal assistant to the President in all matters relating to the Department of Defense". Ensuring civilian control of the military, an individual may not be appointed as Secretary of Defense within seven years after relief from active duty as a commissioned officer of a regular (i.e., non-reserve) component of an armed force.
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