While on a tour through the United States to thank his voters, Donald Trump announced Thursday, December 1, from Cincinnati, Ohio, he would entrust the head of the Pentagon to James Mattis, a general the retirement nicknamed the "rabid".
"The 'mad', it's excellent," he told the elected US president who promised during his campaign to intensify the war against the jihadists of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, two theaters that General know well. "This is the best. They [other general] say that this is the closest thing the General George Patton", has he said, referring to the former officer who had distinguished during World War II.
Known for his outspokenness, James Mattis, 66, would be the first former general to become defense secretary since 1950. Donald Trump had recently incensed, saying in particular is "impressed" by his positions against Torture.
This single native northwestern United States, was born September 8, 1950, commanded a brigade of Marines during the invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks, before leading the First Division of the Marine Corps in early of the Iraq war in 2003 and during the terrible battle to retake the rebel city of Fallujah in 2004.
"Be polite, be professional, but be prepared to kill anyone you meet," he explained to his Marines at the beginning of this war, to sum up the perilous situation in which American soldiers were occupying the country.
General skids sometimes, as in 2005, when he explains that "it's really fun to fight" and "funny people down" when we are faced with "the guys who hit women for five years away because they do not wear the veil. "
These remarks, for which he apologized, earned him reprimands, but have not dented the confidence of the Pentagon in the man reputed to be "direct, vivid lightning and a resolution flawless" in the words of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
James Mattis also pass for an intellectual who, with his impressive library of over 7000 books, gives copious playlists to his officers.
Passage by NATO
From 2007 to 2009, the general served as Supreme Commander of Allied transformation of NATO. In 2010, the Obama administration has appointed head of Centcom, the command of US forces in the Middle East, which still has 150,000 troops, including 66,000 in Afghanistan.
But the White House will never really trust him, seeing him as too ready to confrontation with Iran while the international community was trying to negotiate an agreement to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Early 2013, she pushes him towards the exit, a few months before his scheduled departure. The general left the army. But unlike General Michael Flynn, the future national security advisor to Donald Trump, also pushed out by the Obama administration, it avoids inflammatory against the administration and remains a leading voice in Washington.
In spring 2016, it is pushed by some Republicans to run as an independent candidate for the White House, to cut short the rise of Donald Trump, but he declined the offer.
Two former generals in Trump
Trump future administration will therefore comprise at least two former generals, Michael Flynn, appointed adviser to national security. An unprecedented situation, which may make some teeth gnashing in a country which, since its inception, has always required strict control of the military by the civil power.
The Congress will also grant an exemption to James Mattis since law requires the military to wait seven years after retirement to become secretary of defense: a condition that was to sanctuaries civil departmental management. Or "rabid" left the army in 2013 only.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has already announced that it refuses to make an exception for General Mattis. But it remains popular with US lawmakers. It is "an extraordinary leader who arouses rare and special admiration of his troops," said Republican Senator John McCain.