Why Mattis is right for Secretary of Defense with Dr. Mac Owens


Dr. Mackubin Owens (bio below) joins us to explain why General James Mattis is the right man to head the Department of Defense. Owens, a Marine Corps veteran and national security expert, wrote the definitive essay in support of Mattis (here) explaining that not only does Mattis have the experience and practical wisdom for the job but that he would usher in a better era of civil-military relations. That runs up against the conventional wisdom among Mattis’s critics on the Left. But then, they aren’t so much interested in an argument from fact or experience as they are in a rhetorical bludgeon they can use against Donald Trump and his nominees.

If General Mattis becomes Secretary Mattis he will face a Department of Defense that needs to rebuild the military after several years of sequestration budgets and that has been used as a laboratory for Leftist social engineering. Dr. Owens explains why Mattis can rebuild our military readiness and culture after the depradations it suffered under the Obama Administration.

Dr. Mackubin Owens Bio

Mackubin Thomas Owens is dean of academics for the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC, a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, and editor of Orbis, FPRI’s quarterly journal. He recently retired after 29 years as Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. From 1990 to 1997, Dr. Owens was also Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly defense journal Strategic Review and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Boston University.

Owens is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Leadership and Democratic Statesmanship in Wartime (2009) and US Civil-Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain (January 2011) and coauthor of US Foreign and Defense Policy: The Rise of an Incidental Superpower (2015) and The Evolution of the Executive and Executive Power in the American Republic (2014).

Before joining the faculty of the War College, Owens served as National Security Adviser to Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Nuclear Weapons Programs of the Department of Energy during the Reagan Administration. Dr. Owens is also a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, where as an infantry platoon and company commander in 1968-1969, he was wounded twice and awarded the Silver Star medal. He retired as a Colonel in 1994.

Owens earned his Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Dallas, a Master of Arts in Economics from Oklahoma University, and his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

About Chris Buskirk

Chris is publisher and editor of American Greatness and the host of The Chris Buskirk Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute and received a fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR's "Morning Edition." His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk

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3 responses to “Why Mattis is right for Secretary of Defense with Dr. Mac Owens”

  1. General Mattis seems to be the type of general that Donald Trump often cited in his campaign speeches as those who know how to fight and win battles and not to run social experiments. Mattis looks like a good fit for President Trump.

  2. Thanks for the interview, CB.
    Dr Owens, glad to hear today that Gen Mattis has been selected. Thanks for pleading his case; I’m feeling good about him at the helm. Thanks for your work making the case.

  3. Mattis seems like a good choice. An intellectual but a warrior, a hands on leader able to think systematically. A rare combination.
    The military faces huge choices. It is more than rebuilding due to budget cuts. It is in readapting to a much changed world. It is not a bipolar world US vs USSR or even US vs China. A multipolar world is arising with several power centers – US, China, Japan/Korea/Taiwan/Vietnam alliance in formation, India, EU, Iran as middle eastern hegemon, possibly others. The post-war world following WWII and the Cold War is over. The world is much more like the world America faced since our beginning through 1939, the world where we were well served by the philosophy of Washington through Taft (excluding the stupid Wilsonian period) – a world where it was best to avoid entangling alliances, where we should focus on strengthening our own nation, being judicious in our military activities by spending our efforts only on external wars in our interest and in general conserving our forces. One clear implication is that we need to rebuild out navy so we can function as Britain did for centuries – safe by controlling the underseas, seas, skies, space and cyberspace – able to cripple any would be hegemons or aggressors by shutting off their trade, able to support alliances of nations who fight for their own liberty instead of having us do it for them. Hopefully Mattis is smart enough to put it together.