Mattis, James, 1950–, American general and secretary of defense (2017–), b. Pullman, Wash., grad. Central Washington Univ. (1971). Commissioned as a second lieutenant (1972) in the Marines after completing ROTC training, he served as a lieutenant colonel in the Persian Gulf, as a colonel and a brigadier general in Afghanistan, and as a major general in Iraq. A four-star general from 2007, he succeeded General Petraeus as head of the U.S. Central Command in 2010. After retiring from the military (2013), he worked in the private sector and was a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. In 2017 he became secretary of defense under President Trump.
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