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Mattis teams up with fellow fmr. defense secretary for another new job

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis waits for the arrival of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Jan. 18, 2018, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro/Department of Defense)
September 09, 2019

Former defense secretary Jim Mattis is set to join fellow former defense secretary William Cohen as a senior counsel of Cohen’s business advisory firm, The Cohen Group.

The Cohen Group announced that Mattis will join the advisory firm in October of this year, according to their press release on Monday.

“Jim Mattis is a national treasure, a leader known throughout the world for his strategic judgment as well as his unyielding principles,” Cohen said.  “He is a Marine, a student of history, a scholar and teacher, and a public servant in the truest sense of the term. We are honored to be working with him, and our clients will benefit from his knowledge and guidance.”

The Cohen Group cited a working relationship with Jim Mattis dating back to 1997 when Mattis was a colonel at the Pentagon, where he and Cohen worked together on occasion.

Cohen was appointed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1997 to serve as the defense secretary. In his personal bio, Cohen touts his efforts during his time as the defense secretary to modernize the U.S. military in the aftermath of the Cold War.

Mattis similarly served as President Donald Trump’s defense secretary. He served from the start of the Trump Administration in January of 2017, up until December of last year when Mattis submitted his resignation letter amid reported policy disputes with the president.

Mattis announced his resignation shortly after Trump indicated his intentions to withdraw troops from Syria.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis said at the time of his announced resignation.

News coverage of the resignation letter may have prompted Trump to accelerate the Marine general’s departure from the administration.

Following his departure, Mattis has returned to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, a public policy think tank where Mattis is the Davies Family Distinguished Fellow. In August, Mattis also returned to General Dynamics. With the return to the aerospace and defense company, Mattis virtually completed his return to his pre-Trump administration employment.

On Sept. 3, Mattis released Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, detailing his time working alongside both President Barrack Obama and Trump. Mattis did lend criticism to the former president but stayed relatively quiet about his falling out with Trump.

It is not immediately clear what Mattis will be paid or what he will do in his new role for the Cohen Group, though he is not the first career military officer to join the firm.

The Cohen Group bills itself as a business advisement firm leveraging the career experience of various former business and government leaders to connect clients with international markets. The Cohen Group says one of its primary focuses is in helping businesses clear regulatory hurdles to do business in other countries.

Mattis may be in familiar company alongside Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Army Gen. Paul Kern, the former Commander of the Army Materiel Command and Senior Adviser for Army Research, Development, and Acquisition; Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Yakovac; and Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, former Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and Manager of the National Communications System

Alongside the number of senior U.S. military leaders are former military leaders of other NATO countries and various ambassadors with ties to NATO.