Donald Trump himself has said he ran for President to disrupt the status quo. Disruption is the goal of any insurgency, which the U.S. Military defines as “primarily a political struggle, in which both sides use armed force to create space for their political, economic and influence activities to be effective.” Trump, who during his campaign weaponized anxiety for his political insurgency, has nominated General James Mattis, the chief architect of the U.S. Military’s countinerinsurgency (COIN) strategy, to be Secretary of Defense in his administration. But Mattis’s nomination will evidently meet its own counterinsurgency from — at the very least — New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Because Mattis only retired from active duty in 2013, he will require a waiver to fill the Sec Def post. Gillibrand, who isn’t poised to cut the new administration any slack, announced she will oppose the waiver — despite her “deep respect” for Mattis’s service. Counterinsurgency may be too strong a word for Gillibrand’s obstructive strategy. But Mattis himself defined counterinsurgency as a “comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency.” Gillibrand, of course, isn’t brandishing any military force, but she’s certainly using the weapons she has at hand to make a comprehensive effort at fighting back against the President-elect’s initiatives.