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Q&A with General Jim Mattis

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  • Q&A with General Jim Mattis

    Defense News posted a question and answer session with USMC General James Mattis. Here are some snips:

    Q. What are the real lessons of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars?

    A. War is a human endeavor, a social problem, and we have modest expectations that technology is going to solve a problem as complex as warfare.

    Second, no war is over until the enemy says it's over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote, as we're often saying in the military.

    A third point is that what we cannot do is look towards war today as something that we are going to fight on our own. We are going to be fighting alongside allies of some stripe, and we are going to have to create a military that can easily adapt to other allies fighting alongside it as part of our formations, and perhaps us fighting as part of their formations.

    But you can't simply transport the lessons from one theater, even one as recent as Iraq, directly to Afghanistan. It's its own country, the enemy is its own enemy, the terrain is different. Most importantly, the human terrain - the complexity of the human connections, the tribal relationships - is different.

    Q. Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants military commands to shrink. Can you do it and still operate effectively?

    A. Absolutely. There are tried-and-tested methods: skip echelons is one - don't replicate every function every echelon; having fewer commands is actually better. I think we're on the right track to follow the secretary's lead right now, and it makes a lot of sense.
    The rest of the interview is linked above.

    By the way, the Atlantic has posted a story indicating Mattis is the front runner for Commandant of the Corps.

    The article further notes that General Norton Schwartz is the front runner for Air Force COS.

  • #2
    Here is an interesting video of a talk given by Mattis last year.

    There are two videos. Mattis's talk is in the second video. His remarks start at the 4:45 mark.


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