President-elect Trump’s decision to select retired Marine Corps General James N. Mattis as the next Secretary of Defense portends big changes for the Pentagon. Mattis is one of the most gifted warfighters of his generation, a battle-hardened intellectual who actually enjoys engaging in combat. What he doesn’t enjoy is policymakers who are unrealistic about the nature of war, ambiguous lines of accountability, appointments made on the basis of connections rather than competence, political corruption masquerading as high purpose, the overselling of technology at the expense of training, and neglect of ground forces who make the greatest sacrifices in wartime. So all of that is going to change when Mattis takes over at the Pentagon, and Washington will go back to treating war like the test of wills it always was. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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