Posted tagged ‘Secretary of Defense’

Mattis warns NKorea to stop before it is destroyed

August 10, 2017

Mattis warns NKorea to stop before it is destroyed, DEBKAfile, August 9, 2017

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned North Korea in the strongest terms Wednesday, Aug. 9 to stop any action that would lead to the “end of its regime” and the destruction of its people.

He said in a statement: “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”

Mattis pointed out that the DPRK regime’s actions “will continue to be grossly overmatched by ours and would lose any arms race or conflict it initiates.”Mattis added that while the State Department was making diplomatic efforts, the United States and its allies have the most “precise, rehearsed and robust defensive and offensive capabilities on Earth.”

Tuesday, President Donald Trump warned:  “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Senate panel approves Mattis to be next defense secretary

January 18, 2017

Senate panel approves Mattis to be next defense secretary, Washington ExaminerJacqueline Klimas, January 18, 2017

The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday cleared one of the final hurdles for retired Gen. James Mattis to become defense secretary shortly after President-elect Trump takes office.

The committee voted 26-1 that the full Senate should approve the nomination once it’s received, meaning it will not have to be referred to the committee and can be approved by the full Senate as soon as the next president sends it to Capitol Hill, according to a committee press release.

There is precedent for the committee to act on a prospective nomination from someone who is not yet in office. The committee took a similar action to help speed approval of Donald Rumsfeld to be defense secretary on Jan. 19, 2001, one day before the inauguration of former President George W. Bush.

The committee and full Senate passed the waiver last week that will allow Mattis to serve as defense secretary so soon after leaving the Marine Corps. Current law requires someone to be out of uniform for seven years before serving as defense secretary, but Mattis just left the service in 2013.

ISIS seizes big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base

December 12, 2016

ISIS seizes big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base, DEBKAfile, December 12, 2016


Islamic State forces pushed their assault forward to retake the central Syrian town of Palmyra Monday, Dec. 12. By evening, they had entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments. Reporting this, DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the booty they snatched included different types of ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-tank and anti-air rockets.

Russian forces manning the base were hurriedly evacuated from Palmyra and the T-4 base, after the worst defeat Russian armed forces had ever experienced at ISIS hands in Syria. Military circles in Moscow commented grimly that the Russian army had suffered “a major disgrace” in Palmyra.

According to our sources, long convoys of ISIS fighters backed by tanks taken booty from the Syrian army, first forced the Syrian 11th Tank Division to abandon the strategic Jhar Crossroad. After that, the way was clear for the jihadis’ column to reach the T-4 base.

DEBKAfile reported on the ISIS terrorists’ fresh momentum Sunday.

Judging from the rash of reports claiming US-Iraqi military progress in the Mosul offensive against ISIS and the extra American special operations forces personnel posted to Syria for an impending US-Kurdish operation to capture the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the Islamic State ought to be cowering under siege, finally defeated – or at least on the run.

But the facts tell another story. ISIS is on the offensive – so far in the Middle East. Over the weekend, Islamist terrorists accounted for dozens of deaths and injured hundreds more.

Sunday, Dec. 11, at least 25 people worshipping at the Coptic St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s church adjacent to St, Mark’s cathedral in Cairo were killed and scores injured. The Coptic pope often leads the prayers there. DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that the attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists from Raqqa who bided their time until they struck in the Egyptian capital. Saturday, six Egyptian troops were killed by another Islamist bomb near the Giza pyramids.

On the same day, ISIS fighters pushed back into the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, nine months after their expulsion.

The Raqqa terrorist stronghold is clearly alive and kicking on more than one front. A number of contributing factors enable the Islamic State to unleash a fresh spate of terror.

1. The US-Iraqi-Kurdish drive has stalled without driving ISIS out of Mosul or choking off the terrorist fighters’ freedom to move between Mosul and Raqqa, their Syrian bastion.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who arrived in Baghdad Sunday, Dec. 11, was assigned by the Obama administration to make a last effort to reactivate the Mosul campaign. His chances of success are slim. The military coalition which launched the campaign two months ago has lost a vital component, the Kurdish Peshmerga, which backed out three weeks ago. The Iraqi military units which captured some of the city’s outskirts stopped short when they reached the strongest defense lines set up by the Islamic State and have been unable to break through, even with US air support.

The pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite front which undertook to seize Tal Afar in order to sever the ISIS connecting link between Iraq and Syria are parked outside, having been warned by Turkey not to set foot in the town.

Added to these setbacks, the US CENTCOM which is running the aerial war in Iraq is at loggerheads with the Iraqi Air Force command and has practically grounded all Iraqi warplanes.

Even if Carter can wave a magic wand and resolve all these issues, the momentum and high hopes that actuated the Mosul campaign when it started have been lost and can hardly be recovered before Barack Obama leaves the White House.

At least two of the incoming president Donald Trump’s designated security advisers – Defense Secretary Gen, James Mattis and National security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn – have criticized the operation in is current form.

2. What is happening in Raqqa doesn’t fit the designation of an offensive. At most, small Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups are mounting sporadic raids against ISIS fighters on the town’s outskirts, with the support of the Obama administration. Our military experts say that Raqqa can’t be captured from the Islamist terrorists by conventional means – mainly because it is spread over a large area of mostly empty desert. ISIS has taken advantage of this terrain to distribute knots of defenders across a vast area ranging hundreds of kilometers from northern to eastern Syria up to the winding, heavily overgrown banks of the Euphrates River.

So when Ash Carter announced Saturday that he would be sending another 200 Special Operations Forces into Syria to join the battle for Raqqa, he had no idea that he, the Russians and the Syrians were about to be caught off guard by a fresh ISIS initiative to reoccupy Palmyra, the ancient Syrian two from which they are thrown out in March.

This was a poke in the eye for Russian President Vladimir Putin who proclaimed Palmyra’s capture from ISIS as a signal coup for the Russian army in its war on Islamist terror.

3.  He might well commiserate with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. For two years, the Egyptian armed forces have been fighting an uphill battle to crush the ISIS groups infesting the Sinai Peninsula. The jihadists constantly elude punishment with the help of supportive Bedouin tribes.

Every few months, they pose a real threat to the stability of the El-Sisi regime by striking inside Cairo, the capital, with some terrorist atrocity, for which they are aided by the Muslim Brotherhood underground and Palestinian Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.

The bombing of the Coptic church Saturday was unusually the work of jihadists deployed from Raqqa, Syria.  Egypt has reacted by placing extra guards at Christian sites and declaring three days of national morning for the disastrous bombing attack on Egypt’s largest minority.

The new Islamist drive is looking ominously like the onset of the Christmas-New Year holiday terror onslaught the Islamic State has threatened to unleash in the Middle East and beyond. US and European security services have been placed on high alert in the belief that returning jihadis are programmed to strike at home.

Trump Sec of Defense Pick: Enemy of Islamism and Iran

December 4, 2016

Trump Sec of Defense Pick: Enemy of Islamism and Iran, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, December 4, 2016

united-states-general-james-mattis-640-320-getty-drew-angerer_0General James Mattis with President-elect Trump (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

General Mattis completely and utterly rejects the romanticized interpretation of the Iranian regime as “moderate” or part of the solution to Sunni terrorism. In April, he described the Iranian regime as the “single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East;” one greater than Al-Qaeda or ISIS.


President-Elect Trump has chosen Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis for secretary of defense, eliciting widespread enthusiasm focusing on his status as the “most revered Marine in a generation” and factory of quotable quotes.

Deserving of more positive attention is his emphasis on confronting Political Islam and the Iranian regime.

General Mattis has advocated for significant changes in both the military fight against the specific Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, as well as the fight against the Islamist ideology that births them. Although ISIS’ caliphate is on the decline, General Mattis doesn’t settle for an encouraging positive trend. He wants to win quickly and decisively, yet humanely with care for civilians.

In August, he said the strategy still is “unguided by a sustained policy or sound strategy [and is] replete with half measures.”

Mattis was one of the chief architects of the counter-insurgency campaign that turned Iraq around so rapidly that it even surprises many of its supporters.

In testimony to the Senate in 2015, he said, “The fundamental question I believe is, ‘Is political Islam in our best interest?’ If not, what is our policy to authoritatively support the countervailing forces?”

In another speech, General Mattis said that the fundamental flaw in our strategy has been a failure to define Political Islam as the enemy of U.S. interests. He made the correct observation that such a delineation between friend and foe would allow us to identify supportable Muslim allies.

“If we won’t even ask the question [if Political Islam is in U.S. interests], then how do we ever get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight? And if we don’t take our own side in this fight, we are leaving others adrift,” he said.

He then referenced his recent trip to Egypt and the widespread perception that the U.S. actually intends to empower the Muslim Brotherhood. The failure to base policy around a rejection of Political Islam inevitably leads to a tolerance or even an embrace of Islamists who surpass the low bar of condemning Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The Muslims who oppose Islamists are, as Mattis put it, left adrift.

Countless articles have been written claiming that a policy based on fighting “radical Islam,” “Political Islam,” “Islamism” and similar terms will inflame the Muslim world. Islamists and allied institutions will undoubtedly cry foul, as they always have at every minor slight, but the delineation will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Overlooked allies amongst Muslims and non-Muslim minorities will surface as U.S. policy forces the Muslim world to take stances on Islamism and its adhering organizations. New allies will be born as the discussion of Islamism leads to rejections of it. If messaged correctly, the U.S. will end up with more Muslim allies of better quality.

This view of Islamism as the adversary, rather than just specific terrorist groups targeting the U.S. homeland, is why General Mattis rejects the notion of a “moderate” Iranian regime. He was fired by the Obama Administration for his tough questions about the ramifications of current U.S. policy towards Iran.

General Mattis completely and utterly rejects the romanticized interpretation of the Iranian regime as “moderate” or part of the solution to Sunni terrorism. In April, he described the Iranian regime as the “single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East;” one greater than Al-Qaeda or ISIS.

We recently pointed out that four of Trump’s picks want to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and wage a long overdue ideological offensive against Islamism, also known as Political Islam.

Trump then chose K.T. McFarland as deputy national security adviser and Katharine Gorka as part of his Department of Homeland security “landing team” to manage the transition between administrations. Both are strong advocates of an ideological war against Islamism and Gorka has advocated for the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act.

The U.S. war against Islamist extremism now enters a new, decisive phase, but let not our enthusiasm for this strategy blind us from the risks.

The successful implementation of the anti-Islamism strategy is not solely dependent upon Trump’s national security team. It’s dependent upon him.

If his decisions prevent demonstrable success, the ideological strategy will be considered a failed concept. Its advocates will have their credibility tarnished, perhaps unfairly, and the Western response to Islamism will be put on an indefinite hold as the ideology marches on.

Leadership Lessons from Gen. James Mattis (Ret.)

December 3, 2016

Leadership Lessons from Gen. James Mattis (Ret.), Marines via YouTube, October 13, 2016

Humor | Military frantically Googling where Defense Secretary is in presidential order of succession

December 2, 2016

Military frantically Googling where Defense Secretary is in presidential order of succession, Duffel Blog, , December 2, 2016


WASHINGTON — Millions of members of the U.S. military are frantically Googling where the Secretary of Defense sits in the line of succession to President of the United States, sources confirmed today.

The more than two million Google searches for terms such as “where is SecDef in succession order” and “can SecDef be promoted to president” came just hours after it was learned that retired Marine Gen. James Mattis would be named to lead the Department of Defense.

Mattis, 66, has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to head the department, which has been plagued by low morale and expensive cluster-fuck weapons systems, such as the F-35. He’s expected to easily boost morale, but attempting to fix DoD bureaucracy may be beyond even Mattis’ abilities.

When asked how Pentagon procurement could be fixed, for example, even God declined to answer. Instead, the Almighty referred all further questions to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics.

If confirmed, Mattis would need to simultaneously take out the Treasury Secretary, Secretary of State, President pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Vice President, and the President, in order to assume the highest office in the land.

According to sources, he already has a plan to do just that, which he wrote in 2003. He later stashed the plan in the drawer of his nightstand, on which his concubine places a breakfast shake mix of Jack Daniels and Creatine each morning. A person familiar with the plan said that Mattis mostly uses his bare hands, though he often carries multiple guns, knives, and sharp sticks on his person.

Experts say that Mattis dropping six people who have no military training would be a “walk in the park,” compared to his usual average of 12 kills per day. They went on to say that Mattis exterminating a bunch of tubby civilians would be roughly equivalent to him taking a bath or making toast, in terms of difficulty.

Survivors of Mattis’ wrath are expected to write about what he does to Washington, D.C. for the next 10,000 years.


Krauthammer’s Take: It’s Good to Have a Defense Secretary Called ‘Mad Dog’

December 2, 2016

Krauthammer’s Take: It’s Good to Have a Defense Secretary Called ‘Mad Dog’, Fox News via YouTube, December 1, 2016

Trump Selects James Mattis for Defense Secretary

December 1, 2016

Trump Selects James Mattis for Defense Secretary, Washington Free Beacon, December 1, 2016

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Marine Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Central Command (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Gen. James Mattis as the next secretary of defense is sending shockwaves through the defense community, where insiders are praising the retired Marine Corps general as a plain spoken realist who has the leadership ability to rebuild America’s military, according to conversations with multiple sources.

Mattis, former commander of U.S. Central Command, is known for being outspoken about combat and America’s need to reassert authority across the globe to challenge threats from extremism and radical rogue regimes.

Trump’s selection of Mattis follows those of Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) as the next CIA director and retired Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser, picks that have won plaudits from observers and mark a clear ideological shift from the Obama administration.

Foreign policy insiders and congressional sources told the Washington Free Beacon that Mattis has proven himself on the battlefield and earned respect among his peers.

“Mattis is not someone who is going to prioritize wishful thinking over the reality of the world we face,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes.

Rubin said Mattis has the experience necessary to implement tough reform while keeping America’s fighting force nimble and well equipped.

“But it’s not enough for the next defense secretary to face down our enemies. He must also face down the huge bloated bureaucracy which the Pentagon has become,” Rubin said. “His predecessors have all taken the easy way out–enjoying the perks of office without carrying out substantive reform. The United States needs the most powerful military in the world capable of projecting force globally. It does not need the most bloated bureaucracy, capable of projecting powerpoints for hours a day.”

Michael Ledeen, a onetime consultant to the National Security Council and State and Defense Departments, as well as a former special adviser at the State Department, also had high praise for Mattis, who he described as a consummate Washington outsider.

“He hates Washington, really hates it,” Ledeen said, describing this as a positive trait for a defense secretary. “He’s the best possible. The choices [by Trump] have been pretty good, I must say.”

The selection of Mattis also earned praise in Congress from Republican sources who work on foreign policy issues.

“General Mattis is exactly the type of leader we need after eight years of failed leadership under President Obama,” said one senior GOP aide. “He would serve our country well by reaffirming fractured alliances and pushing back against our enemies. I am encouraged to see President-elect Trump considering him to run the Pentagon.”

Another senior Republican Senate staffer who handles Middle East issues said that Mattis’ extensive combat experience makes him a perfect fit for the role.

“As a Marine, General Mattis served our nation honorably and fearlessly,” the source said. “We should expect no less if Mattis, as a civilian, is now asked to serve as secretary of defense.”

Raheem Kassam, editor of Breitbart London and a Trump world insider, said that the selection of Mattis sends a positive sign to America’s closest allies, including Britain.

“Mattis is revered the world over,” said Kassam, who had speculated about Mattis getting picked weeks before his name emerged in the running. “This is one appointment that even British liberal and conservatives agree upon. And frankly, it is about time America projected the ‘don’t f— with us’ attitude that he so well embodies.”

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam

November 30, 2016

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam, The Federalist, November 31, 2016


Is political Islam in America’s best interests? This question should be central to our strategy of fighting ISIS and Islamist terrorism in general. Yet it’s one that many political leaders would rather not answer, because of our politically correct climate. But since Trump’s transition team announced last week that it’s considering retired Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, this reluctance might fade.

In a speech given at the Heritage Foundation last year, Mattis spoke about America’s position vis à vis political Islam. Rather than equivocating on the matter in order to avoid saying something uncomfortable or politically incorrect, Mattis simply pointed out that America needs to make a decision about its stance toward this ideology.

Recall that political Islam, or Islamism, is a movement within Islam: it works toward the increasing implementation of Islamic law and values in all areas of life—usually via state control—in order to make Islam a dominant force in the world.

Why We Don’t Talk About Islamism

Mattis’ suggestion—which sounds like a basic element of defense strategy—has been surprisingly neglected in the years since 9/11. The U.S. tends to deal with Islamism on a case-by-case basis. And so long as any particular group or political entity doesn’t have a direct and obvious link to terrorism, we tend to give them a pass. Even then, this is sometimes too high of a bar, as is the case with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups.

No one wants to delve into the question of Islamism because it has become a politically charged issue, one that often leads to accusations of bigotry and Islamaphobia. As Islam is increasingly treated as a protected class by America’s progressive Left, any scrutiny of any faction within Islam is considered off limits. This is done in the name of tolerance, but is in fact a highly intolerant position. But it’s successfully scared off politicians and military personnel, who tend to make vague and noncommittal statements on the topic.

This makes Mattis’ statements all the more notable. He’s simply urging the U.S. to make a decision. And what’s more, he’s arguing that this decision ought to be based on what we believe is in our best interest:

“Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States?…If we won’t even ask the question then how do we even get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight? And if we don’t take our own side in this fight we’re leaving others adrift.”

What Is In The Country’s Best Interests?

This is a surprisingly unpopular question to ask in general, and specifically when it comes to Islam. The concept itself—asking what is in America’s best interest—has largely been ignored as of late. Under Obama, America has pursued a policy of “leading from behind,” and more or less disregarding America’s interests abroad. The Obama administration has done this based on the notion, central to the progressive narrative of history, that America is a de facto colonialist power, whose influence in the world is malign and ought to recede of our own volition.

But if the U.S. can’t identify what is in its best interests, or refuses to pursue those interests out of an oversized sense of political correctness, there’s no way to forge a comprehensive global defense strategy. As Mattis points out, if we won’t even talk about political Islam with a critical eye, how can we figure out which side we’re on, and make decisions from that point? Neglecting the question not only hurts our interests—it leaves our allies unsure of where we stand and how we will proceed when Islamist movements gain traction in their countries.

Mattis also points out that ISIS is counting on Americans not having a debate on whether political Islam is good for America. If we don’t examine this question, we can’t create a cohesive strategy, and our fight against ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliphate (or other groups like them) will ultimately fail.

This is the opposite of what some Islamist apologists and those on the left insist, which is that ISIS wants us to talk about the connections between Islam and violence, in order to make Muslims feel like the West is at war with their entire religion. Then, so the thinking goes, Muslims will turn on the West.

Mattis Would Change Our Reputation

As it is, ISIS has largely won this battle. Any serious strategic discussion about the relationship between political Islam and American national interests has been deemed illegitimate and offensive by the political Left. See, for example, the scrubbing of terms related to Islam from Department of Homeland Security training materials.

Mattis’ appointment as Defense Secretary would be a marked change not only from the Obama administration, but also from the Bush years. Both administrations were reluctant to substantively engage in a debate on the merits or threats of political Islam.

Since giving this speech at Heritage, ISIS has experienced significant territorial losses. But the question Mattis raises has not lost its relevance. It will be central to many of the Trump administration’s foreign policy challenges. Political Islam remains, and will remain, a problem for the West both in terms of domestic security and global strategy. Whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the U.S., or political Islam in a post-Arab Spring Middle East, the U.S. needs to know where it stands on this issue.

Mattis concludes that political Islam is not, in the end, good for America. But he acknowledges that what’s most important is that we have a discussion about it—so that we can develop a broader strategy for how to deal with Islamism in the world. Without a cohesive strategy, there is little hope of checking the destructive influences of political Islam both at home and abroad.


November 23, 2016

RIGHT ANGLE: Mattis for SECDEF? Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, November 22, 2016