Tag Archives: Mattis

New Rules of Engagement from Mattis

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Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has changed the rules of engagement for those deployed in Afghanistan, no longer requiring that troops must be in contact with the enemy before opening fire. This is a welcome change within the Afghan theater, as troops will now have more opportunities to aggressively take the fight to the enemy. Part of this change will also include the dispersing of more U.S. and allied advisers to lower-level Afghan units.

The new changes were addressed during this week’s congressional hearing, where Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford stated the White House had given authorized the chance to revise the current rules of engagement, updating them to the necessary tempo needed for fighting the Taliban. While the rules of engagement are officially classified, those in country can now be expected to take faster action when combatting terrorist forces.

“We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces,” Mattis state. “It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”

Addressing the House Armed Services Committee, Mattis also clarified “If they are in an assembly area, a training camp, we know they are an enemy and they are going to threaten the Afghan government or our people, [Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan] has the wherewithal to make that decision.” He said that more units will now have advisors for obtaining air support, describing this change as “now being able to bring this fire support to bear where we could not [before], whether it be for proximity or [because] we were not with those units.”

Changes were expected, mainly because in recent years, senior Washington officials have pushed for less restrictive ROEs in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Donald Trump said he planned to ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” during last months Afghanistan strategy speech.

While the improvement opens new doors for combatting the enemy in Afghanistan, Mattis made clear that U.S. forces would continue to do everything “humanly possible” to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.

Trump’s Appointment of Mattis is All We Want for Christmas

 

At a rally in Cincinnati, OH Thursday night, President-Elect Donald Trump made the announcement that he would like to appoint retired Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his administration’s Secretary of Defense. Trump went on to liken Mattis to World War II hero, General George S. Patton, saying General Mattis is, “the closest thing we have to General George S. Patton.” Similarities to Patton aside, the appointment of James Mattis as Trump’s Secretary of Defense also places him in rare company with former General and Secretary of Defense under the Truman Administration, George C. Marshall.
The National Security Act of 1947 is the piece of federal legislation that placed Mattis and Marshall in such elite company. For a former service member to hold the private appointment of Secretary of Defense, he or she must have been retired from active duty for at least ten years. Later modified to eight years in 2008, Mattis has not met this requirement, only being retired from active duty since 2013. As George Marshall was subject to in 1950, James Mattis will have to receive approval from Congress to accept President Elect Trump’s appointment. From recent media reports, it sounds like Mattis will have the support of Congress, so Mattis might be able to institute his defense policies, whereas Marshall was primarily responsible for keeping Douglas MacArthur under control during the Korean War.
Regarding defense policy, Mattis has not minced words regarding the United States policy towards the Islamic State. He has gone on record stating that the United States needs to take a “firm, strategic stance,” against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations, and believes that the current policy in the Middle East has fostered an environment of extremism. However, some Mattis’ policies differ from President-Elect Trump. Namely, Mattis believes that Trump’s attitude toward Russia is misguided, as well as his belief that torture does not work to the extent that some high-ranking officials believe.

Regardless of your political leaning, or personal thoughts on James Mattis’ potential appointment as Secretary of Defense, the next few weeks will prove to be a unique time in the history of the United States.

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