Confirmed just Friday afternoon, new Defense Secretary James Mattis wasted no time in dispatching a letter to the American troops and civilians who now work for him.
The recently retired Marine general -- who needed a congressional waiver to serve in the civilian role -- stuck with his signature plain-spoken style. "It's good to be back," he began.
Federal statute requires a seven-year gap between military service and the Pentagon's top job. Mattis retired in 2013. The last time a waiver was used was for Gen. George Marshall in the early 1950s.
Here's the text of the short letter, which advises that Mattis is "devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense."
The retired four-star ends the memo in a battlefield-style tone: MATTIS SENDS, it says.
Message to the Department of Defense from Secretary of Defense James Mattis
It's good to be back and I'm grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.Together with the Intelligence Community, we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to you, the uniformed and civilian members of the Department and your families, to see the fundamental unity of our country.
You represent an America committed to the common good; an America that is never complacent about defending its freedoms; and an America that remains a steady beacon of hope for all mankind.Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future.
Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances. Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people. I am confident you will do your part. I pledge to you I'll do my best as your Secretary.
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