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Former Mattis aide writes book offering ‘fly on the wall’ view of Trump’s relationship with Chaos
Brace yourselves, the post-Mattis tell-alls are coming.
A book offering a purported “fly on the wall" view of the relationship between President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — callsign Chaos — is about to drop in October, according to NBC News.
“Often described as the administration's 'adult in the room,' Mattis has said very little about his difficult role, and since his resignation has kept his views of the President and his policies private. Now, Mattis's former chief speechwriter and communications director, Guy Snodgrass, brings readers behind that curtain," reads a teaser description for the book on Amazon and Goodreads, where it is expected to be available on Oct. 29.
Titled “Holding The Line: Inside the Pentagon with General Mattis,” the book description says its contents are drawn from Snodgrass’ “meticulous notes” that he kept during 17 months working for Mattis, which include anecdotes on how he reacted when he learned of major policy decisions over Twitter rather than from the White House, and how Mattis “minimized the damage done” to allies and slow-rolled some of Trump’s more controversial decisions.
I’m speculating a bit here on what the reaction was to learning of a major DoD policy change coming via presidential tweet, but it probably involved at least a few cuss words.
Mattis resigned in protest over Trump’s decision to quickly withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, which the president has since walked back. The former defense secretary recently rejoined Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
The book’s title seems to be a nod to Mattis’ talk with deployed troops in 2017, in which he told them, "You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other, being friendly to one another; what Americans owe to one another.”
Snodgrass told NBC he was still finishing the book and was planning to submit it to the Pentagon for review, to ensure no classified material is shared.
Although this is the first “Pentagon insider” account of Mattis’ tenure, other books have offered some interesting tidbits on the Mattis-Trump relationship, most notably in Bob Woodward’s book “Fear.”
As my colleague Jeff Schogol wrote:
After speaking to reporters on Tuesday, news broke that author Bob Woodward's upcoming book portrays Mattis as frustrated with President Trump, especially after a meeting about North Korea, when the defense secretary allegedly vented to colleagues that Trump has the understanding of a "fifth- or sixth-grader." (Mattis has called Woodward's account "fiction.")
MONS, Belgium (Reuters) - The United States will send 20,000 troops to Europe next April and May in its biggest military exercises on European soil since the Cold War to underscore Washington's commitment to NATO, a senior allied commander said on Tuesday.
Days after a NATO summit in London at which U.S. President Donald Trump called low-spending European allies "delinquent", U.S. Major General Barre Seguin said the exercises, centered on Germany, will be the largest of their kind in 25 years.
"This really demonstrates transatlantic unity and the U.S. commitment to NATO," Seguin, who oversees allied operations from NATO's military headquarters in Belgium, told Reuters.
Gold Star family members might finally see an end to the so-called "Widows Tax" thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
The top Pentagon watchdog has announced it would be investigating all deaths of recruits during initial military training over the past five years, the agency said in a statement last week.
In a Dec. 4 memo, the DoD Inspector General said it was changing the scope of an investigation it had opened on Nov. 18 that was titled Evaluation of Medical Resources and Guidance to Trainers at Recruit Training Centers in the DoD. Its new title, the IG said, would be Evaluation of Medical Protocols and Deaths of Recruits in the DoD.
While its original objective of looking into the medical resources available to recruits would remain the same, the IG said it would now also review all deaths of recruits at military basic training facilities between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2019.
The move comes in the wake of several deaths at basic training facilities over the past year. In April, the Navy announced a safety review after two prospective sailors died at its recruit training facility in Great Lakes, Illinois. Seaman Recruit Kelsey Nobles died after a fitness test that month; Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans also died after the run portion of the fitness test.
In September, an 18-year-old soldier died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has disciplined more than 20 Marines over misconduct at its San Diego boot camp since 2017, according to The Washington Post. The action came in the wake of a scandal involving the death of a 20-year-old Muslim recruit named Raheel Siddiqui, who fell 40 feet to his death at the Parris Island training facility, where he and other Muslims were targeted for abuse by their drill instructor (the instructor was later sentenced to 10 years in prison at court-martial).
According to the IG, Pentagon investigators will visit all DoD recruit training facilities and interview personnel from each service's education and training commands. They will also speak with personnel at military medical facilities, the Defense Health Agency, and those assigned at the Military Entrance Processing Command, which does the initial intake for civilians going into military service.
The number of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Army officials increased this year, according to an Army Inspector General report recently presented to service leaders and obtained by Task & Purpose.
The document, which lays out broad details of IG investigations undertaken in fiscal year 2019, looks at investigations specific to senior Army officials, which includes "promotable colonels, general officers and senior executives," according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz.
Marine Corps senior leaders have begun to express cautious openness to the idea of making the service's boot camps fully co-ed. But if Congress has its way, the service may be pushed toward full integration sooner than expected.
The final conference version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would require the service to integrate both its East Coast and West Coast entry-level training facilities within the next eight years.