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Three months after leaving Trump administration, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to return to Hoover Institution


Jim Mattis, who served as the 26th Secretary of Defense for two years under President Donald Trump, will serve as the Hoover Institution Davies Family Distinguished Fellow starting May 1.

Mattis resigned from his position in Trump’s cabinet on Dec. 20, 2018 following the President’s decision to withdraw American forces in Syria.

Emphasizing his belief in the importance of U.S. allies and partnerships in maintaining the nation’s strength, Mattis wrote in his letter of resignation that he believed the President had the right to a Secretary whose views “are better aligned” with his. He cited the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – which Trump has rebuked – and the Defeat-ISIS coalition as examples of valuable partnerships that Mattis believes should be upheld.

Mattis also warned against the rising global power of China and Russia, whose “strategic interests are increasingly in tension” with the United States’.

The Hoover Institution released a report in November 2018 calling for “constructive vigilance” against Chinese influence on U.S. institutions.

Mattis joins H.R. McMaster — the 26th National Security Advisor — in departing from the Trump administration for the Hoover Institution. McMaster resigned from his post on Apr. 9, 2018, about a month after the President decided to remove him from office. McMaster’s support of the Iran nuclear deal and free trade with South Korea as well as his approach toward North Korea conflicted with Trump’s agenda.

Mattis has had a four-decade-long career in the military. He previously led an assault battalion in the Gulf War and commanded operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan following 9/11. He later led the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq, and served as both the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. At the U.S. Central Command, he directed military operations of over 200,000 troops and military personnel across the Middle East.

Mattis previously spent four years as a Hoover fellow, serving as an Annenberg Distinguished Fellow at the Institution from 2013 to 2015 and as a Davies Family Distinguished Fellow from 2015 to January 2017 before he left for Washington. During his time at Hoover, he was a member of Hoover’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict and a co-editor of the book “Warriors and Citizens,” which assesses public attitudes toward the military.

When he returns to the Hoover Institution, Mattis plans to research domestic and international security policy. He will also participate in events and programs related to military and national security both at Stanford and in Hoover’s office in Washington DC.

“I have long relied on the work of Hoover to supplement my understanding of the critical challenges facing our country and to help guide tough decisions,” Mattis said in a Hoover press release. “I believe we have an obligation to pass on the lessons we’ve learned so that future generations can study, learn and become better. Hoover has made this part of its mission, and I look forward to returning.”

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Julia Ingram ’21 was The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jingram ‘at’