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Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is not talking about President Donald Trump in his new memoir Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, written with military author Bing West and released Monday.
But the book, styled as a three-part course in leadership tracing Mattis' 40-year career from Marine infantryman to head of U.S. Central Command, still delivers plenty of anecdotes and reflections that will satisfy admirers of the legendary general.
Buried in former Defense Secretary James Mattis' essay in the Wall Street Journal is a leadership lesson that sounds an awful lot like a veiled criticism of President Donald Trump's tendency to bully subordinates in person and on social media.
While the retired Marine general does not dwell on his decision to resign last December in protest over Trump's decision to withdraw all U.S. troops in Syria, which the commander-in-chief later reversed. Instead, Mattis opted to reiterate what he wrote in his resignation letter about the importance of treating allies with respect.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The U.S. military, and particularly the Marine Corps — in which I served both as an enlisted Marine and officer — puts a strong emphasis on leadership. Marines are taught leadership traits and qualities and are expected to exhibit them at nearly every level.
During my three decades of service, I saw good and great leadership, poor leadership, and toxic leadership. Nearly everyone in the military knows what toxic leadership looks like, even if they haven't experienced it directly.
Unfortunately, our commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, exhibits the qualities of a toxic leader.
President Donald Trump wants U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, but top noncommissioned officers from the services and combatant commands maintain that troops are still eager to go there and to other combat zones.
The general attitude in the ranks on risky deployments is "quite the opposite" of what many might believe, said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Metheny, the top noncommissioned officer for the NATO Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan.
"They're disappointed when you have to tell them about the force caps" on the estimated 14,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan, Metheny said at Pentagon briefings Wednesday by senior NCOs on a range of issues.
The opportunity to deploy is also a factor in recruiting and retention, he said, pointing to what he said is a 108% retention rate for those serving in Afghanistan.
Trump passed on Petraeus for top White House positions over 'red flags' like his opposition to torture, according to leaked documents
Former Army Gen. David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who resigned in disgrace as CIA director amid revelations of an extramarital affairs, was passed over by then-president-elect Donald Trump's transition team because of his criticism of torture, according to leaked vetting documents.