The general, Donald Trump’s Defence Secretary pick, has been quoted as saying, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”
Retired general James “Mad Dog” Mattis — who for years oversaw U.S. war efforts in the Middle East and was tapped on Thursday by President-elect Donald Trump as his new Defence Secretary — did not come by his nickname lightly.
Gen. Mattis, 66, commanded a Marine battalion during the First Gulf War and a marine division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2010, the tough-talking native of Washington State was named to head the U.S. Central Command.
That gave him authority over troops in Iraq, where he helped develop a counterinsurgency approach before overseeing the U.S. withdrawal, and Afghanistan, where he implemented a troop surge.
Previously, the four-star general led the U.S. Joint Forces Command and a NATO command charged with preparing the alliance’s forces to meet future challenges.
A colourful commander, he earned the nickname “Mad Dog” with his battle-hardened swagger and the sort of blunt language Marines are famous for.
He has been quoted as saying, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”
Mr. Trump announced the nomination on Thursday at his first post-election rally in Ohio.
“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defence,” Mr. Trump told a large crowd of supporters in Cincinnati.
“He’s our best. They say he’s the closest thing to (World War II-era) general George Patton that we have,” Mr. Trump said,
If confirmed by the Senate, Gen. Mattis will be the first recently retired general to serve as Pentagon chief since George Marshall in 1950, who served under President Harry Truman.