Top U.S. military commander is coming to UCLA

Top U.S. military commander is coming to UCLA

General James Mattis

General James Mattis, the top commander of the American military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will join award-winning NPR foreign affairs correspondent Mike Shuster for a public conversation on Nov. 18.

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan beginning to wind down, there is much to be learned about America’s current involvement in these conflicts and what the future holds for U.S. troops in these regions. To get this perspective from an insider is a rare opportunity, but one that will be available later this month.

General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command and successor to General David Petraeus as top commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is coming to UCLA on Nov. 18 for a sit-down conversation with award-winning National Public Radio News (NPR) foreign affairs correspondent Mike Shuster to discuss these topics, and more. The one-hour event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Anderson School of Management, Korn Convocation Hall,  beginning at 11 a.m. The event has been organized by the Burkle Center for International RelationsPre-registration is required. 

[**Please note: As of Nov. 8, pre-registration is closed. There will be a small number of seats available on the day of the event, on a first-come, first served basis.]

“General Mattis’ area of responsibility has seen more change and upheaval over the past year than most other areas in the world have recently,” says Alexandra Lieben, deputy director of the Burkle Center, noting that Mattis’ additional responsibilities include the execution of the military component of U.S. foreign policy in Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. “Between the Arab Spring and the intractable situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there is a lot to talk about and a lot for us to learn. As UCLA’s primary forum for the interdisciplinary study of international affairs, it is the Burkle Center’s mission to provide analysis of the complex interactions among the social, economic, technological and environmental forces that so powerfully influence our lives."

Mattis has been commander of U.S. Central Command since 2010. Over the past 40 years, he has held a number of ranks and commanded at a variety of levels. As a lieutenant, he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander in the 3rd Marine Division. As a captain, he commanded a rifle company and a weapons company in the 1st Marine Brigade. As a major, he commanded Recruiting Station Portland. As a lieutenant colonel, he commanded 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, one of Task Force Ripper's assault battalions in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As a colonel, he commanded 7th Marines (Reinforced).

As a brigadier general, he commanded first the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and then Task Force 58, during Operation Enduring Freedom in southern Afghanistan. As a major general, he commanded the 1st Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In his first tour as a lieutenant general, he commanded the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and served as the deputy commandant for combat development. He also commanded the I Marine Expeditionary Force and served as the commander of U.S. Marine Forces Central Command.  Previous to this assignment, he served as both NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from 2007 to 2009 and as commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command, from 2007 to 2010.  

Shuster is an award-winning diplomatic correspondent and roving foreign correspondent for NPR News. When not traveling outside the U.S., Shuster covers issues of nuclear non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and the Pacific Rim. In recent years, he has helped shape NPR’s extensive coverage of the Middle East as one of the leading reporters to cover this region, traveling to Iraq in the spring of 2007 to cover the increased deployment of American forces in Baghdad. He has traveled frequently to Iran, seven times since 2004, to report on Iran's nuclear program and political changes there. He has also reported frequently from Israel, covering the 2006 war with Hezbollah, the pullout from Gaza in 2005 and the second intifada that erupted in 2000. His 2007 week-long series "The Partisans of Ali" explored the history of Shi'ite faith and politics, providing a rare, comprehensive look at the complexities of the Islamic religion and its impact on the Western world. Shuster has won numerous awards for his reporting. He was part of the NPR News team to be recognized with a Peabody Award for coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath. He was also part of the NPR News teams to receive Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards for coverage of the Iraq War (2007 and 2004), 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan (2003), and the Gulf War (1992).

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Published: Friday, November 04, 2011