On a recent trip to Indonesia, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was treated to a display of intensity by the Indonesian Special Forces. They broke flaming bricks with their heads, rolled in broken glass, and even went as far as drinking the blood of snakes — all to impress the Warrior Monk. While Indonesian Special Forces’ demonstration definitely shows a willingness to fight, it might be a bit too much.
It’s actually not that hard to decipher ways to really impress Secretary Mattis. He basically tells everyone how to be a warrior and everyone misinterprets his advice as yet another ‘Mattisism.’ It’s simple. Just don’t call him “Mad Dog” and be a competent fighter and you’ll be on his good side. Here are some other quick, simple ways to impress the Secretary of Defense.
4. Don’t use PowerPoint
One of the most simple (and true) Mattisisms is, “PowerPoint makes us stupid” — and damn near everyone in the military agrees. Sure, it may be an easy and useful way to bullet point out some notes, but the point of “easy and useful” is lost when PowerPoint Rangers spend their entire careers creating them instead of, you know, leading their troops.
I hate to break it to every staff officer out there stuck deciding on a font, but you’re wasting your time. Your troops are waiting for you.
3. Shoot the assholes who need to be shot
Every troop, from the knuckle-dragging grunt to the PowerPoint Ranger, joined the military for one reason: to help fight America’s wars. Many infantrymen kick in doors daily and many POGs may never come within a grid-square of danger. This shouldn’t matter: When the time comes, you should be willing to fight and end the enemy before they end you.
Whether they know it or not, the reason Secretary Mattis was impressed with Indonesian Special Forces was their willingness to prove they have what it takes to be a warfighter.
2. Be polite, be professional…
And, of course, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. This doesn’t mean that you should constantly live your life like you’re playing Grand Theft Auto V. It means that you should always stay vigilant.
Treat everyone as if they’re your friend, but have a backup plan in case they don’t feel the same way about you.
1. Actually read the books on his reading list
Show of hands: Who’s actually read through every single book that Secretary Mattis has recommended throughout his lengthy military career? Much respect if you have, and no judgment if you haven’t.
While everyone will eat up his Mattisisms about being the meanest, roughest, most savage son of a b*tch on the battlefield, he actually talks more about being smart. “Engage your brain before your weapon.”