Home » Budget Industry » Document: SECDEF Mattis’ Resignation Letter

Document: SECDEF Mattis’ Resignation Letter

The following is the text of Secretary of Defense Jim Maitts’ letter of resignation.

Dear Mr. President:
December 20, 2018

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.


James N. Mattis

Download document here.

  • NavySubNuke

    Thank you for your service General Mattis. Semper Fi.

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Fired by 2 presidents in a row.

    Obama because Mattis wanted war with Iran.
    Trump, because Mattis wanted war with Iran, Syria and anyone else up for it.

    No doubt the media will lionise Mattis…. that’s a given.

    • Centaurus

      They won’t lionize our “Dear Leader” . Hooboy

    • Jason Traxler

      So, how is it that Mattis differs with the President – prosperity of the industrial/military complex or social values of the imbedded deep state bureaucrats in the Pentegon? I don’t question the Presidents interest in our national security. I also believe the President opposes nation building at the expense of national sovernity. I don’t perceive a confict with problems associated with gender confusion. But, I suspect a conflict regarding nationality of armed forces members. Whatever the division, I stand with our Commander-in-Chief who has show his respect for our military time and time again.

      • Duane

        Trump shows utter disrespect and concern for the safety of our men and women in arms in Syria and Afghanistan when he throws a hissy fit in a phone call with Turkey’s leader Erdogan and tells him “Well, you can HAVE Syria, if you want it that bad” and then issues a policy by tweet that exposes our soldiers to enemy offensives and potentially even taking fire from the allies (the Kurds) whom Trump just betrayed. With zero support from anyone in his entire administration, or consultation with any of our allies whose troops are also affected by this rash, sudden, and very stupid and destructive pullout from both Syria and Afghanistan. Again, by a stupid tweet.

        If you think that constitutes respect for our soldiers, then you are as crazy as Trump is.

        It is just massively head shaking the sycophants who applaud every ridiculous, stupid, and destructive thing this orange haired madman proclaims as if he were a Roman Emperor and not President of a constitutional, democratic republic.

        • old guy

          Boy, now I know that there MUST be TWO(2) Duanes on this post.

    • NavySubNuke

      Hopefully Mattis will run in 2020 —- I’d be proud to vote for him.
      It would be nice to have a chance to vote for someone worthy of the office again unlike the 2016 election.

      • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

        I doubt the DNC would fancy supporting him.

        But, who knows?

        • NavySubNuke

          Trump could find enough Republicans to support him despite him being completely unqualified and unworthy of the office. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mattis do quite well in a Republican primary.

          • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

            Maybe in an open primary where anyone can vote….

            But a Democrat isn’t going to win the GoP nomination…. again.
            A current Democrat vs a former Democrat for the Republican ticket?
            Probably not.

          • old guy

            I believe that I have an edge on you, in that I knew him when he was with Gen. Krulak. He was solid, opnionated and egocentric. I find it hilarious that many of those who applauded when Prez Obama fired him, are now outragedt. It doesn’t surprise me that he was fired, but I was astounded that he was picked up by Prez Trump.

        • old guy

          REMEMBER. An Obama first. Firing Mattis,

      • old guy

        ….and keep on running, bye bye…………….

  • old guy

    Extremely odd that he didn’t sign it VERY RESPECTFULLY, as you would expect.

    • Duane

      He owes it to the nation to be very clear why he is resigning. He did us all a great favor.

      His oath was to the Constitution, not to the insane megalomaniac in the White House.

      • old guy

        I will not talk politics on this post, but your post is as stupid and incorrect as it cound be. If you were in a service and you signed any letter eithout the proper salutations, you would be in BIG trouble for your lack of respect.

        • Duane

          Insanity is not a political party or ideology.

          • old guy

            Good boy.Self deprication is cathartic.

  • Duane

    God save us all from the insane megalomaniac in the oval office.

    • muzzleloader

      Precisely what I was saying during the reign of 44.

      • Duane

        Then you would have been an idiot for saying so. Nobody who is not themselves insane would ever have described President Obama as insane or a megalomaniac. Or either of Presidents Bush 43 or 41, or President Clinton, or President Reagan … or any other president in the entire history of the republic. But for Trump, yeah, unfortunately.

        Maybe the fact that the rest of the world recognizes something you refuse to acknowledge explains why Trump’s approval rating is now in the 30s, and almost certainly headed lower now … and why the US stock market just suffered the worst December since 1931, and the worst month since the 2008 financial crash … and why large majorities of Americans in polls (upper 50s or higher) say they believe Trump likely committed Federal crimes … and why the rest of the world, both allies and even some of our opponents, are now going “WTF!?” with SecDef Mattis’s resignation.

        • muzzleloader

          You know Dianne, when I made my above remark, I KNEW that it would trigger a repost like you just posted.
          I hope you enjoyed a cigarette afterwards, lol.

          • Lee

            That is a trait of a manipulative person. I feel bad for your significant other.

          • old guy

            I endorse Muzzleloader’s words and my wife and I’ve been hitched for over 69 years. In that it is so on your mind, I assume that you and your wife have marital problems.

      • old guy

        I say again,”Harry T, where are you, now that we need you.”…….or Dwight. or Ronny, or GHW?

    • old guy

      stupid, non useful, childish, lefty statement. Beneath you.

    • old guy

      Where was your outrage, when obama fired him. That was OK, right?

  • old guy

    I find the letter not only disrespectful, but bordering on the seditious. What got him fired was his dogged, “My way or the highway.” attitude. which is why President Obama FIRED him. I have known the Marine Commandants from Grey to Jones and I am sure that they will agree that the letter is outrageous.

  • DaSaint

    Blind allegiance to a supreme leader has been proven in the past to be disastrous. The past century proved that.

    Thank you for your service General.

  • omegatalon

    It’s next man up in the Trump Administration.. as Trump has announced he is promoting Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to replace Mattis which means Mattis won’t be able to take a good-bye tour as Shanahan will take over effective January 1, 2019.

  • Natalya

    Thank you General Mattis for your service to our country. You are very well respected by our troops and allies alike. What you didn’t say in a very well worded resignation letter spoke “mountains” for those reading it.