'I Could Cry': Mattis Expresses Happiness at Escaping Capital Madness During Speech at Military School

Although some politicians enjoy the circus, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was happy to spend some time at a Virginia military school. During a speech at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Mattis expressed his relief at traveling out of the nation’s capital. “I stand here in your beautiful town, your beautiful school with mixed emotions,” Mattis said. “I’m so happy to be out of Washington, D.C., right now, I could cry.” He also spoke about the new strategy for the Department of Defense in order to ensure the military’s success. “We’ve written up a national defense strategy and we’ve answered the challenges as we’ve defined them,” Mattis said. The Department of Defense (DOD) explained the three main goals of Mattis’ new plan. “These challenges call for three lines of effort,” the DOD statement read. “Increasing the lethality of the military is the first line. The second line of effort is strengthening existing alliances and building new ones. The third is to ensure DOD is a good steward of taxpayers’ money.”

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Mattis highly praised the cadets at VMI and encouraged them to pursue excellence in the military. “VMI has got a key part … in driving progress along the lines of effort like this, because we need sharp young people going into the professions in America, and certainly into the military as well,” Mattis said. “I want you to remember, you only have to win one battle, but it’s one you have to win every day,” he added. “And that one battle is for the hearts and minds and the trust and affections of the young men and women who are going to be serving alongside you that you outrank, but you’re very, very close to.”

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