Commander of U.S. Central Command to Speak at UW

September 20, 2012
Man smiling
Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command

A four-star general who commands U.S. military operations in the Middle East is scheduled to speak Thursday, Oct. 4, at the University of Wyoming.

Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, will deliver an address, “Perspectives on the Middle East,” at 3 p.m. in UW’s College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

The general’s area of responsibility consists of 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria. He’s expected to offer his perspectives on the history of the region; the far-reaching effects of the Arab Awakening; and the United States’ policy goals in the region.

“General Mattis has had a front-row seat for some of the most defining events in the history of the Middle East,” says UW President Tom Buchanan. “We’re honored to have him come to UW to share his perspectives about this important part of the world and our nation’s role there.”

Mattis, a Marine Corps general, succeeded Army Gen. David Petraeus as commander of U.S. Central Command in 2010. The Christian Science Monitor described Mattis and Petraeus as “the joint architects of how America now fights counterinsurgencies.”

“In over 30 years of supporting U.S. forces in the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR), I have never witnessed it so tumultuous,” Mattis said before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March. “Change is the only constant, and surprise continues to be the dominant force in the region. Across the AOR, at large, both opportunities and challenges exist.”

Before assuming his current post, Mattis served as both NATO’s supreme allied commander transformation from 2007 to 2009 and as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command from 2007 to 2010. Before that, he commanded the I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Forces Central Command and the 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.

Mattis, a native of the Pacific Northwest, graduated from Central Washington State University in 1972. He also is a graduate of the Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College.

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