Former Secretary of Defence General James Mattis’s no-nonsense approach to life is well-known. Before and during his tenure as SecDef, he pushed for more focus on warfighting and less emphasis on senseless exercises and training. Gauging by his time of military, and now public service, the Secretary of Defense appears to prefer logic, and not necessarily doctrine, in making decisions.
In doing so, he’s created a “Mattis Way of War.”
At least, so argues USMC Major Michael Valenti. And he’s put quite a lot of thought behind this assertion, as he wrote his Master’s thesis on General Mattis and his approach to combat. In the paper, Major Valenti examines Mattis’s time as commander of Task Force 58 in the initial stages of the Afghanistan campaign (our own Brandon Webb had some personal interactions with General Mattis during that time) and as commander of the 1st Marine Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In both campaigns, Major Valenti identifies four key components that can be translated into a “Mattis Way of War:”