A Forecast:  The Mattis Resignation

His appointment was welcomed when the Trump Administration announced his selection to become the next Secretary of Defense.  The reality just never lived up to the expectations.  His quiet resignation has become another blow to the optimism that came with the election of an outsider as President of the United States.


Many are speculating about the reasons for the resignation of the first military Secretary of Defense since George Marshal.


Even when on active duty he had strong feelings about the Middle East.  In criticizing the Obama Administration, he continually pointed to a lack of strategy for the region.  He lamented that the instruments of power were not being coordinated.  Maybe the performance of the new Administration turned out to be worse than he could have been expected.  


A President who makes policy by short announcements and tweets.  A National Security Council that makes policy rather than coordinates the interagency process.  A National Security Advisor who makes up facts to support policy positions.  A Congress who takes it upon itself to authorize air defense weapons for the Rebels in Syria.  A Congress that pushes a new sanction package for Iran with the objective of sabotaging the nuclear agreement with Iran.  The President's son-in-law in search of a Middle East peace negotiating on his own with Israel and the Palestinians.   How could the United States have a strategy for the Middle East in this environment?  How could the instruments of power be integrated?


In testimony before the Congress while he was a civilian, the general said, “There’s an urgent need to stop reacting to each immediate vexing issue in isolation. Such response often creates unanticipated second-order effects and even more problems for us.”  How could he have expected to run a coherent procurement program when the President announces that Air Force One was costing too much and needed to be cancelled.


Smart and dedicated leaders do not often fit well in dysfunctional organization.  We are sorry to hear of his resignation.