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Author Topic: Gen. James N. Mattis  (Read 1861 times)
Russ
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« on: July 23, 2010, 03:46:20 AM »

General Mattis will be going up for confirmation hearings for the post of commander of Central Command.  Very interesting gentleman with a well crafted persona....

Associates of General Mattis offer an explanation for the contradiction of a general who uses “ain’t” in public but devotes his government moving allowance to hauling a library of 6,000 books from station to station, forgoing most personal effects.

He was once asked which American Indian warrior he most respected. His answer was a tribe-by-tribe, chief-by-chief exposition spanning the first Seminole war to the surrender of the Lakota.


I have also heard from Marine officer friends that it is rumored that he believes himself to be the reincarnation of the Carthaginian General Hannabal.

Petraeus’s Successor Is Known for Impolitic Words
By THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON — To those who have served under him, Gen. James N. Mattis is the consummate Marine commander, a warrior who chooses to lead from the front lines and speaks bluntly rather than concerning himself with political correctness.

But General Mattis, President Obama’s choice to command American forces across the strategic crescent that encompasses Iraq and Afghanistan, has also been occasionally seen by his civilian superiors as too rough-edged at a time when military strategy is as much about winning the allegiance of local populations as it is about firepower.

If his predecessor as the commander of Central Command, Gen. David H. Petraeus, is known for his skill at winning over constituencies outside the military, General Mattis has a reputation for candid, Patton-esque statements that are not always appreciated inside or outside the Pentagon.

“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap around women for five years because they didn’t wear a veil,” General Mattis said during a forum in San Diego in 2005. “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.”

For those comments, he received an official rebuke. His career path, however, was not seriously altered, and he now finds himself awaiting Senate confirmation to take over one of the most important jobs in the military. His new assignment would nominally put him atop General Petraeus — now the commander in Afghanistan — in the chain of command and leave him overseeing the reduction of American troops in Iraq, the escalation in Afghanistan and an array of potential threats from across the Middle East and South Asia, including Iran.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described General Mattis’s significant professional growth as he rose through the senior ranks, in particular at his current post atop the military’s Joint Forces Command. “I watched him interact in NATO at the highest levels, diplomatically, politically, and on very sensitive subjects,” Admiral Mullen said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates described General Mattis as “one of our military’s outstanding combat leaders and strategic thinkers.”

But the general angered one of Mr. Gates’s predecessors, Donald H. Rumsfeld, in 2001 with another remark that played well with his Marines, but not with civilian leaders in Washington. After Marines under his command seized an airstrip outside Kandahar, establishing the first forward operating base for conventional forces in the country, General Mattis declared, “The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan.”

Mr. Rumsfeld and other senior officials believed that these words violated the official message of the invasion, that the United States had no desire to occupy a Muslim nation, but was fighting to free Afghanistan from the Taliban tyranny.

General Mattis is viewed differently by those who have been with him on the front lines.

It was the first winter of the war in Afghanistan, when the wind stabbed like an ice pick and fingertips froze to triggers, but a young lieutenant’s blood simmered as he approached a Marine fighting hole and spotted three heads silhouetted in the moonlight. He had ordered only two Marines to stand watch while the rest of the platoon was ordered to rest before an expected Taliban attack at first light.

“I dropped down into the hole, and there were two junior Marines,” the lieutenant, Nathaniel C. Fick, recalled of that overnight operation outside Kandahar. “But the third was General Mattis. He has a star on his collar and could have been sleeping on a cot with a major waiting to make him coffee. But he’s out there in the cold in the middle of the night, doing the same thing I’m doing as a first lieutenant — checking on his men.”

The military career of the previous top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, ended over comments he made to Rolling Stone magazine that were read as disparagements of civilian leadership. Yet even in that context, General Mattis’s past provocative comments do not appear to have caused any serious second thoughts about him at the Pentagon or the White House.

“General Mattis is a warrior’s warrior,” said Mr. Fick, who served twice under his command —in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, and in Iraq in 2003 — and is now chief executive of the Center for a New American Security, a nonpartisan policy institute. “That’s a virtue not always appreciated in American society.”

Associates of General Mattis offer an explanation for the contradiction of a general who uses “ain’t” in public but devotes his government moving allowance to hauling a library of 6,000 books from station to station, forgoing most personal effects.

He is a reader of philosophy who has patterned his speeches and writings on Aristotle’s famous dictum on effective communications: Know your audience. When he is speaking to Marines, he speaks like a Marine. When he is speaking to defense chiefs or senior government leaders, he uses their language.

And he is a reader of history. He was once asked which American Indian warrior he most respected. His answer was a tribe-by-tribe, chief-by-chief exposition spanning the first Seminole war to the surrender of the Lakota.

Just hours before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, in which General Mattis ordered his force on a race from Kuwait to Baghdad, sowing chaos among Iraqi units along the way, he wrote a message to Marines under his command that encapsulates the general’s thinking.

“While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression,” he wrote.

“Engage your brain before you engage your weapon,” the general added.

He is sure to be tested at Central Command, where his tasks include maintaining relations with allies, some dear and some difficult; building the capabilities of unstable nations to defend themselves against terrorists or other threats; and always, always, keeping an eye on Iran.

The Central Command post in some ways is diminished, since there is an officer of equal rank in charge of the war in Iraq and another for Afghanistan, both falling within the Central Command’s area of responsibility.

Senior officers predict there will be little friction as General Mattis moves into command over General Petraeus, who now has been cast, for a second time, in the role of savior for a faltering war effort. In fact, some officers suggested that General Mattis should have been considered for the Afghan command, but senior officials wanted the more polished Petraeus, given the circumstances of General McChrystal’s removal, and the fact that General Petraeus already was involved in developing the Afghan strategy.

Generals Mattis and Petraeus have worked together before, in writing the military’s manual on counterinsurgency, which has become the guiding concept for both wars — and for which General Mattis rarely gets credit.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Guess who was a 2nd Lt. under Mattis....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilario_Pantano
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 06:54:21 PM »

Woof Russ,
 First, it's great to hear from you, I hope all is well with you and your adventures and next thanks for the post on Gen. Mattis. I haven't heard that much about the guy really and it seems he will be more of a major player, as Petraeus is not afraid to delegate all the authority needed to his team to get the job done.
                                        P.C.
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Rarick
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2010, 08:52:09 AM »

Would you like a general who is PC and mediocre, or a general who lays down a provocative one liner, and the tool box to win the war for you?  The Indians are/ were past masters at guerilla warfare. If he has been studying them he should be effective, and idf he and patraeus wrote that docterine together- even better.  Mattis and Patreus can go together like Patton and Eisenhower.............
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Russ
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2010, 09:28:25 AM »

Hey P.C., good to hear from you too!

Mattis will technically be Patraeus' senior as commander of CENTCOM.

There is so far no date listed for the confirmation hearing.  I can't imagine they plan to leave the post open for long.

Speaking of Patton....  Patton takes his staff on an unexpected detour to the site of the ancient Battle of Zama. There he reminisces about the battle, insisting to his second in command, General Omar Bradley (Karl Malden) that he was there.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patton_%28film%29

I think I'm going to spend some time reading up on counterinsurgency:

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf

This manual is designed to fill a doctrinal gap. It has been 20 years since the Army published a field manual devoted exclusively to counterinsurgency operations. For the Marine Corps it has been 25 years. With our Soldiers and Marines fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is essential that we give them a manual that provides principles and guidelines for counterinsurgency operations. Such guidance must be grounded in historical studies. However, it also must be informed by contemporary experiences.

This manual takes a general approach to counterinsurgency operations. The Army and Marine Corps recognize that every insurgency is contextual and presents its own set of challenges. You cannot fight former Saddamists and Islamic extremists the same way you would have fought the Viet Cong, Moros, or Tupamaros; the application of principles and fundamentals to deal with each varies considerably. Nonetheless, all insurgencies, even today’s highly adaptable strains, remain wars amongst the people. They use variations of standard themes and adhere to elements of a recognizable revolutionary campaign plan. This manual therefore addresses the common characteristics of insurgencies. It strives to provide those conducting counterinsurgency campaigns with a solid foundation for understanding and addressing specific insurgencies.

A counterinsurgency campaign is, as described in this manual, a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations conducted along multiple lines of operations. It requires Soldiers and Marines to employ a mix of familiar combat tasks and skills more often associated with nonmilitary agencies. The balance between them depends on the local situation. Achieving this balance is not easy. It requires leaders at all levels to adjust their approach constantly. They must ensure that their Soldiers and Marines are ready to be greeted with either a handshake or a hand grenade while taking on missions only infrequently practiced until recently at our combat training centers. Soldiers and Marines are expected to be nation builders as well as warriors. They must be prepared to help reestablish institutions and local security forces and assist in rebuilding infrastructure and basic services. They must be able to facilitate establishing local governance and the rule of law. The list of such tasks is long; performing them involves extensive coordination and cooperation with many intergovernmental, host-nation, and international agencies. Indeed, the responsibilities of
leaders in a counterinsurgency campaign are daunting; however, the discussions in this manual alert leaders to the challenges of such campaigns and suggest general approaches for grappling with those challenges.

Conducting a successful counterinsurgency campaign requires a flexible, adaptive force led by agile, well-informed, culturally astute leaders. It is our hope that this manual provides the guidelines needed to succeed in operations that are exceedingly difficult and complex. Our Soldiers and Marines deserve nothing less.

DAVID H. PETRAEUS
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Commander
U.S. Army Combined Arms Center

JAMES F. AMOS
Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps
Deputy Commandant
Combat Development and Integration
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Russ
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2010, 09:36:08 AM »

Iterative Design During Operation Iraqi Freedom II (from p. 99 of the Counterinsurgency Manual)

During Operation Iraqi Freedom II (2004-2005),

the 1st Marine Division employed an operational design similar to that used during the Philippine Insurrection (circa 1902).

The commanding general, Major General James N. Mattis, USMC,

began with an assessment of the people that the Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors would encounter within the division’s
area of operations. The area of operations was in western Iraq/Al Anbar Province, which
had a considerably different demographic than the imam-led Shia areas in which the division
had operated during Operation Iraqi Freedom I.

Major General Mattis classified provincial constituents into three basic groups: the tribes,
former regime elements, and foreign fighters. The tribes constituted the primary identity
group in western Iraq/Al Anbar Province. They had various internal tribal affiliations and
looked to a diverse array of sheiks and elders for leadership. The former regime elements
were a minority that included individuals with personal, political, business, and professional
ties to the Ba’ath Party. These included civil servants and career military personnel
with the skills needed to run government institutions. Initially, they saw little gain from a
democratic Iraq. The foreign fighters were a small but dangerous minority of transnational
Islamic subversives.

To be successful, U.S. forces had to apply a different approach to each of these groups
within the framework of an overarching plan. As in any society, some portion of each
group included a criminal element, further complicating planning and interaction. Major
General Mattis’s vision of resolution comprised two major elements encompassed in an
overarching “bodyguard” of information operations. (See figure 4-3, page 4-8.)

The first element and main effort was diminishing support for insurgency. Guided by the
maxims of “first do no harm” and “no better friend–no worse enemy,” the objective was to
establish a secure local environment for the indigenous population so they could pursue
their economic, social, cultural, and political well-being and achieve some degree of local
normalcy. Establishing a secure environment involved both offensive and defensive combat
operations with a heavy emphasis on training and advising the security forces of the
fledgling Iraqi government. It also included putting the populace to work. Simply put, an
Iraqi with a job was less likely to succumb to ideological or economic pressure to support
the insurgency. Other tasks included the delivery of essential services, economic development,and the promotion of governance.
All were geared towards increasing employment opportunities and furthering the establishment of local normalcy.
Essentially, diminishing support for insurgency entailed gaining and maintaining the support of the tribes, as well as converting as many of the former regime members as possible. “Fence-sitters” were considered a winnable constituency and addressed as such.

The second element involved neutralizing the bad actors, a combination of irreconcilable
former regime elements and foreign fighters. Offensive combat operations were conducted
to defeat recalcitrant former regime members. The task was to make those who
were not killed outright see the futility of resistance and give up the fight. With respect to
the hard-core extremists, who would never give up, the task was more straightforward:
their complete and utter destruction. Neutralizing the bad actors supported the main effort
by improving the local security environment. Neutralization had to be accomplished in a
discrete and discriminate manner, however, in order to avoid unintentionally increasing
support for insurgency.
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