Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump's SecDef "Mad Dog" Mattis Hails From Think Tank Land

President-elect Donald Trump continues to choose people for his transition team and Cabinet with extremely deep ties to powerful US think tanks.

Gen. Jim Mattis, who has just been selected by Mr. Trump to be his Secretary of Defense, is the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University.

Before that, he was the Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hoover.

He is also a member of the think tank's Military History/Contemporary Conflict Working Group.

A number of think tankers seem to hold Gen. Mattis in high regard.  Heather Hurlburt, Director of the New Models of Policy Change initiative at New America, said "Mattis is respected by people I respect."

Max Boot, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), said that Mattis is a "great choice" for Defense Secretary.

Mattis has also praised think tanks, such as the defense-oriented Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  In an April 22, 2016 speech at that think tank, he said that he is "routinely copying things down from CSIS," and noting that "CSIS doesn't just make assertions...It also includes discussions where you actually come out with something that is perhaps a little better each time you go through a cycle."

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with extremely close ties to Mr. Trump, has a new piece on the "four things you need to know" about Mattis.  That think tank says Mattis faces challenges of rebuilding the US military and American credibility.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, the Director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense, said Gen. Mattis will bring a "solid perspective" to the job.  Think Tank Watch should note that in May 2015 Mattis spoke at Heritage on "the state of the world."

Gen. Mattis recently co-edited a book with Kori Schake, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, entitled "Warriors and Citizens: American Views of Our Military."

In related Cabinet-think tank news, Mr. Trump chose Elaine Chao, who has strong ties to the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute, to be his Transportation Secretary.

We should also note that Trump's pick for Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, whose fortune derives from Amway, has funded through various foundations American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute.