Despite Reputation, Mattis Tries to Avoid Fights: Neller | Military.com: Despite his brawler reputation, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis actually tried hard on the battlefield to avoid fights, Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said Saturday.
Neller means that as a compliment.
The commandant said he had served under Mattis twice and "I never met anybody who tried harder to win without fighting."
The retired general, selected by President-elect Donald Trump for defense secretary, has a special talent for matching goals with means and "how to engage below the level of conflict," Neller said during a panel discussion at the Reagan National Security Forum in Simi, Calif.
Neller quickly added that he had also "never met anybody -- if you have a fight -- there's no way we're not going to win." Neller called Mattis a rare combination of "accomplished leader, thinker, fighter" whose fitness to lead the Pentagon will soon become evident to Congress.
"He's a very measured guy. He listens and he's decisive. I'm confident that when he makes the calls”to members of Congress and testifies at Senate confirmation hearings, he will be judged to be exceptionally qualified to serve as the next defense secretary, Neller said.
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