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Gen. James Mattis joins Ivy League institution

Jul. 23, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis will serve as a senior foreign affairs fellow at Dartmouth College's John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.
Retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis will serve as a senior foreign affairs fellow at Dartmouth College's John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. (Thomas Brown/Staff)
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The warrior monk is climbing into an ivory tower.

Retired Gen. James Mattis, who recently stepped down as commander of U.S. Central Command, is slated to join Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., this fall as a distinguished visitor, college officials announced Tuesday. Mattis will serve as a senior foreign affairs fellow at the school’s John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.

“I am delighted that Gen. Mattis is joining us this fall,” said Daniel Benjamin, director of the center. “I worked closely with Jim Mattis while I was in government and I know him to be one of the deepest military thinkers and strongest leaders of his generation.”

Benjamin previously served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official. He and Mattis worked together during the general’s tenure at CENTCOM, the command that oversees military activities in the Middle East and Western and Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Mattis will be in residence at Dartmouth from Sept.18 to Oct. 7. During his time there, he will guest lecture in a number of courses and give a public address. He will also meet with student groups up to postdoctoral level.

“These distinguished visitors will interact with undergraduate and graduate students and faculty,” Benjamin said. “General Mattis’s visit is a model of what we want at Dickey.”

Mattis, whose call sign was “Chaos,” retired from a 41-year career in the Marine Corps in May. He is revered by Marines for his leadership of 1st Marine Division during the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003, and is widely known for his frank talk and colorful quotes.

The general was instrumental in developing U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine, outlined in Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, that played a key role in Iraq and Afghanistan. The doctrine requires troops to be “nation builders as well as warriors” and emphasizes recognition of cultural sensitivities, placing a premium on building trust with indigenous populations. Mattis penned the manual with retired Army Gen. David Petraeus.

Academia should be a good fit for the general who, as an avid reader, was said to have at one time owned more than 7,000 books. Mattis encouraged all Marines to read and study in order to be effective fighters.

In addition to his time at Dartmouth, Mattis also signed on as a visiting fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank in California, Foreign Policy reported.

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