The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs will host a discussion with General Jim Mattis, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), 26th United States Secretary of Defense, on “Applying History in Statecraft.” The conversation will be moderated by Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard Kennedy School.

As space is limited, RSVPs will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Only guests who have RSVPed will be admitted to the event. All conversations are strictly off the record and cannot be quoted or attributed outside the session.

A native of Richland, Washington, General Mattis enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve at the age of 18. After graduating from Central Washington University in 1971, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

During his more than four decades in uniform, Mattis commanded Marines at all levels, from an infantry rifle platoon to a Marine Expeditionary Force. He led an infantry battalion in Iraq in 1991, an expeditionary brigade in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a Marine Division in the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq in 2003, and led all U.S. Marine Forces in the Middle East as Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Marine Forces Central Command.

During his non-combat assignments, Mattis served as Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense; as Director, Marine Corps Manpower Plans & Policy; as Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command; and as Executive Secretary to the Secretary of Defense. 

As a joint force commander, Mattis commanded U.S. Joint Forces Command, NATO’s Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, and U.S. Central Command. At U.S. Central Command, he directed military operations of more than 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, and allied forces across the Middle East. 

Following his retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013, Mattis served as the Davies Family Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, specializing in the study of leadership, national security, strategy, innovation, and the effective use of military force. In 2016, he co-edited the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.

General Mattis’s latest book, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, was published in 2019.

Harvard ID holders only. RSVP required. Doors close at 3:45pm.