The Heritage Foundation

News Releases

December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016 | News Releases on

James Mattis Faces Challenge of Rebuilding Military and American Credibility

President-elect Donald Trump today announced that he will nominate General James Mattis, USMC (Ret.) to be secretary of defense.

"In a world that is increasingly dangerous and complex, we need a leader who understands the threats we face, and who is committed to rebuilding and strengthening our military to defeat them,” said Heritage President Jim DeMint. “Throughout his distinguished career, Gen. Mattis has shown unwavering devotion to our country, and to our men and women in uniform, and we look forward to his leadership of the department in the years to come."

In a May 2015 address at The Heritage Foundation, Gen. Mattis criticized the United States' fiscal irresponsibility and cuts to defense budgets, saying:

"A country that loses control of its budget loses its ability to govern, and when you couple that with the lack of political military strategy in both Washington and Brussels, where NATO headquarters is, and you have the largely unilateral disarmament of most or downsizing [of] the militaries of most Western democracies, then you understand that you’ve got a lot of things starting to line up to tell you it’s going in the wrong direction.”

Heritage's Center for National Defense Director Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Spoehr said Mattis is a security professional who understands both the muddy-boots challenges of the soldier or Marine in the fox hole, as well as the strategic circles of power that operate in Washington and other foreign capitals. 

“Gen. Mattis will bring a solid perspective to the challenge of rebuilding our nation’s military, a critical step to re-establishing American credibility in the world,” Spoehr said.

The Heritage Foundation has offered a number of policy suggestions for the Trump administration in the Mandate for Leadership Series.

About the Author