Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Vox Popoli: An endorsement of General Mattis

General “Mad Dog” Mattis is a colorful character for certain. He could really shake up the DOD and it really needs to have the PC kicked out of it. If Mattis wants to reform the Procurement system he might run into serious opposition in two areas . 1.the DOD career bureaucracy is entrenched is used to getting it’s way over the “temp help” politically appointed leadership. 2. Much of the DOD procurement system is mandated by Federal law so only Congress can change that law. For example Army Chief of Staff GEN Milley recently expressed frustration with the glacial pace the system is moving at to procure a new “joint” handgun for all the Armed Forces. He said that the Army ought to just adopt the Glock 19, as the Army Special Operations Forces is doing for many of it’s units (SOF gets to buy what ever they think they need under law). Then he  had to back off and say that he supported acting within the law. The members of Congress often benefit politically from the way the procurement system is set  up, so they may not be amenable to change. On top of that,  it once made sense to do it that way, only now it’s not working out to everyone’s satisfaction. So regardless of the generally dissatisfaction with the way its going now, you may have a tough sell if you wish to reform many of the particulars of the system. But who knows maybe people with the energy and drive of GEN Mattis and President Trump could make serious defense procurement reform happen.
General Krulak thinks very highly of him. That's a good sign. He'd be a great choice for Secretary of Defense.
A couple of months ago, when I told General Krulak, the former Commandant of the Marine Corps, now the chair of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, that we were having General Mattis speak this evening, he said, “Let me tell you a Jim Mattis story.” General Krulak said, when he was Commandant of the Marine Corps, every year, starting about a week before Christmas, he and his wife would bake hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Christmas cookies. They would package them in small bundles.

 Then on Christmas day, he would load his vehicle. At about 4 a.m., General Krulak would drive himself to every Marine guard post in the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore area and deliver a small package of Christmas cookies to whatever Marines were pulling guard duty that day. He said that one year, he had gone down to Quantico as one of his stops to deliver Christmas cookies to the Marines on guard duty. He went to the command center and gave a package to the lance corporal who was on duty.

 He asked, “Who’s the officer of the day?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.” And General Krulak said, “No, no, no. I know who General Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day today, Christmas day?” The lance corporal, feeling a little anxious, said, “Sir, it is Brigadier General Mattis.”

 General Krulak said that, about that time, he spotted in the back room a cot, or a daybed. He said, “No, Lance Corporal. Who slept in that bed last night?” The lance corporal said, “Sir, it was Brigadier General Mattis.”

About that time, General Krulak said that General Mattis came in, in a duty uniform with a sword, and General Krulak said, “Jim, what are you doing here on Christmas day? Why do you have duty?” General Mattis told him that the young officer who was scheduled to have duty on Christmas day had a family, and General Mattis decided it was better for the young officer to spend Christmas Day with his family, and so he chose to have duty on Christmas Day.

General Krulak said, “That’s the kind of officer that Jim Mattis is.”

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