Defense Secretary James Mattis is resigning at the end of February, stressing in his letter to President Trump his “core belief” that America’s “strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.”
Mattis wrote that he is “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.”
“I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours,” he wrote. “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.”
The Defense secretary told the president that “right for me to step down from my position” because Trump has “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects.”
Mattis said he plans to resign at the end of February, after representing the United States at a NATO defense ministerial and with enough time for Trump to nominate a replacement.