William W. Treat Lecture Series 4: A Conversation with General James Mattis: What is the Role of the Military in a Democracy?

REE Event for the General Public
Thursday, December 2, 1-2:30 pm ET
 A replay video of this event will be available soon.  


What is the role of the military in a democracy? What does it mean when an officer takes the Oath to preserve, protect, support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic? 

Join former Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, retired War College professor Dr. Janet Breslin-Smithmilitary veterans, NH ROTC candidates, and high school youth in this civil and nonpartisan conversation. 


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This William W. Treat Lecture is presented in partnership with: 

The Warren B. Rudman Center at the

UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law and New Hampshire PBS. 

With additional partnership from the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Citizens Count, and the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society

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The William W. Treat Lecture Series is made possible with support from the New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Learn more at www.nhhumanities.org .


The Treat Lecture Series honors Judge Treat’s legacy of bridging political and other divides to improve discussions central to democratic society.


Presenter Biographies

Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith

Image of Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith

Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith draws on her 40-year career in public service at the local, national, and international arenas.  Over her career she had leadership roles in the United States Senate, the National War College, and in Saudi Arabia. 

She has written and lectured on the Constitution, legislative strategy, strategy and culture, democracy and governance, and military family issues.  Her article, “The Struggle to Erase Saudi Extremism” appeared in November 2015 in the New York Times. She is the co-author of The National War College: A History of Strategic Thinking in Peace and War.  She was featured in a recent article on friendship and political difference in the Christian Science Monitor.

Dr. Breslin-Smith, a Professor of National Security Strategy for 14 years at the National War College in Washington, DC, was the first woman to Chair the Department of National Security Strategy. Prior to her academic career, she served for over 17 years in the United State Senate. She was Legislative Director for Senator Patrick J. Leahy and Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

Dr. Breslin-Smith is the Historian of the National War College, and Member of the Board of the National War College Alumni Association.  She is currently working on the Commemoration of the College’s 75th Anniversary.  


General James Mattis

Image of General James Mattis

Jim Mattis was raised in Southeastern Washington and graduated from Central Washington State College.

He served over 40 years in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, plus duty in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and as Commander of U.S. Central Command comprised of 250,000 U.S. and allied troops in combat across the Middle East and South Asia.

Retiring in 2013, he was a Davies Family Scholar at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Subsequently he served as the 26th Secretary of Defense from January 2017 through December 2018.

Contact: Amanda Pawlik - amanda.pawlik@nhcivics.org

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William W. Treat Lecture Series 4: A Conversation with General James Mattis: What is the Role of the Military in a Democracy?

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