Mattis Trump

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis listens to a question during his appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York, Sept. 3, 2019.

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James Mattis, former U.S. secretary of defense and retired four-star Marine Corps general, will speak at a Utah State University convocation on Jan. 21.

Mattis’ speech is entitled “U.S. Leadership on the World Stage: Getting it Right, and Healing Rifts at Home.”

The event, hosted by USU’s Center for Anticipatory Intelligence, is open to the public and will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Evan N. Stephenson Ballroom at the Taggart Student Center. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and tickets will not be required.

Mattis served as President Donald Trump’s secretary of defense since January 2017. Mattis announced his departure from the cabinet in late 2018, only months after the U.S. abruptly withdrew its troops supporting Kurdish forces in Syria. In his resignation letter, Mattis wrote about his “strongly held” belief that America should respect its alliances.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.

Mattis, a four-star Marine Corps general, retired from a military career of more than 40 years when he stepped down from his post at the head of U.S. Central Command in 2013.

Before that, Mattis served as the supreme allied commander of NATO from 2007-09, and as commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command from 2007-10.

Mattis is also a New York Times-bestselling author. His most recent book is “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” co-authored with Bing West, former assistant secretary of defense.

“Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is a national treasure,” Jeannie Johnson, the director and cofounder of the Center for Anticipatory Intelligence wrote in an email to The Herald Journal. “In a time of political fracturing he remains a bridge-builder. Deeply committed to the belief that ‘our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances,’ he offers a vision of US policy which includes healing rifts at home and engaging in sound strategy abroad.”

Mattis spoke at USU once before, in 2014, on the divide between the military and civilians in the U.S. He was the first speaker in a series hosted by the Center for the Study of American Constitutionalism at USU.

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