Marine General James Mattis has just taken command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFC) and NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT). For someone who led the Marines into Afghanistan six years ago, fought his way to Baghdad commanding the 1st Marine Division in 2003, and just left command of I Marine Expeditionary Force overseeing Marines from the east coast of Africa to the west coast of America, his new job in Norfolk would seem a walk in the park. But it is not.
In his JFC hat, Mattis is responsible for providing highly trained, capable U.S. forces to the other combatant commanders. His job is also to develop new concepts for combined, joint operations and for experimentation to test new operational concepts; to conduct joint training; and to determine future capabilities for U.S. forces.
As one of NATO's two strategic commanders, Mattis oversees the strategy for transforming NATO's military structure, forces, capability, and doctrine to increase military effectiveness. This entails moving operational concepts from theory to reality; determining the future capabilities that NATO needs; and then persuading the alliance to implement them.