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Jim Mattis is back – at Stanford University

Then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis meets with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2017. (Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley/Department of Defense)
March 20, 2019

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has resurfaced three months after announcing his retirement, and he’s rejoining Stanford University.

Mattis is returning to the Hoover Institution at Stanford where he will serve as a senior fellow beginning May 1, according to a Tuesday announcement from the university.

“I have long relied on the work of Hoover to supplement my understanding of the critical challenges facing our country and to help guide tough decisions,” Mattis said in a statement Tuesday. “I believe we have an obligation to pass on the lessons we’ve learned so that future generations can study, learn and become better. Hoover has made this part of its mission, and I look forward to returning.”

Mattis will serve as a Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a 100-year-old public policy think tank at Stanford. The Hoover Institution was founded by the 31st president, Herbert Hoover, and focuses on research that explores and promotes individual, economic and political liberties.

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Mattis’ work will focus on “domestic and international security policy,” and he will be involved in “events and programs related to military and national security issues at Hoover’s campus in California and office in Washington, D.C.”

He previously served as an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hoover in 2013, then as a Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow from 2015 until he was tapped as defense secretary in 2017.

“The wealth of knowledge and experience of an already extraordinary career has been made even richer by Gen. Mattis’ latest endeavor as secretary of Defense, and we are fortunate to once again be beneficiaries of his acumen,” Hoover Director Tom Gilligan said. “One can find no one more universally respected for his honor, character, and relentless commitment to safeguarding American ideals than Jim Mattis.”

Mattis’ retirement as defense secretary was announced after his resignation letter surfaced in online reports in December 2018.

He wrote President Donald Trump a letter saying, “because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours … I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

The letter came one day after Trump announced the full withdrawal of 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria and months of rumors of tensions between Trump and Mattis.

Mattis, 68, is a retired four-star Marine Corps general with a career spanning 43 years. He previously headed the U.S. Central Command overseeing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Mattis was the most approved member of the Trump Administration and is hailed as one of the greatest military minds of our time.