Like most military members, I was delighted to hear that James Mattis and Mike Rogers were being considered for key positions in the Trump administration. What you’ll hear the next few days is that Mattis is a blood-and-guts Marine and Rogers is an outgoing spook. The media misses the bigger reasons why Trump would want these men on his team.
First, Trump’s biggest concern is ISIS. Mattis and Rogers have been fighting Islamic terrorism the entire time they’ve worn stars on their shoulders. Both were effective too: Mattis won hard fought victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Rogers retooled the Signals Intelligence system to root out extremist networks.
Both men are incredibly smart. Mattis is incredibly well read about history, and in his words “there is nothing new under the sun.” He’s often thought of as a modern day Sulla, or if you want a Star Wars reference, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Rogers has been in cyber and signals intelligence his entire career, and from working with him personally, he can follow any technical discussion thrown at him.
Neither man hesitates to shake things up, including firing people. Sadly, our military has grown accustomed to never firing officers unless they drive drunk or surf porn at work. Mattis fired a colonel in Iraq that wasn’t pushing his men hard enough to take Baghdad. Rogers shook up the National Security Agency by redesigning it in the NSA-21 initiative, including identifying poor performing structures and personnel.
Trump can’t go wrong with either of these men. If he gives them the tools to run their respective organizations, including expanded powers to fire people, he’ll be well on his way to winning America’s wars again.
This post solely represents the views of the author and does not represent official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, National Security Agency, or any other portion of the US Government. It’s also slightly biased because I worked for Admiral Rogers before, and he’s awesome.
If you want more memes of Admiral Rogers as a total cyber badass, try checking out my website.