Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at the Pentagon in November 2018.

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at the Pentagon in November 2018. Lisa Ferdinando/Defense Department

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Former Defense Secretary Mattis Is Returning to General Dynamics Board

The retired general had been a member of the defense contractor’s board until he became defense secretary in January 2017.

James Mattis is returning to the board of defense contractor General Dynamics, a position he held until becoming the defense secretary in January 2017.

The move comes six years to the day since Mattis originally joined the company board.

"Jim is a thoughtful, deliberate and principled leader with a proven track record of selfless service to our nation," Phebe Novakovic, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The retired Marine Corps general's return to General Dynamics, America’s fifth-largest defense contractor, comes amid increased scrutiny of former U.S. Defense Department officials joining defense contractors and former industry executives going to work in top Pentagon jobs.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is running for president, sparred with Mattis’ predecessor Mark Esper during his July confirmation hearing about his work as a Raytheon lobbyist. Warren has proposed legislation that would block top Pentagon officials for working for defense contractors until four years after leaving government.

When Mattis was confirmed as defense secretary, he forfeited restricted and unvested stock options and divested the rest of his vested stock options, according to his ethics agreement.

Mattis originally joined General Dynamics’ board on Aug. 7, 2013, then stepped away in January 2017 when he became President Trump’s first defense secretary. Mattis led the Pentagon for nearly two years before resigning his post in December 2018 over disagreements with Trump, including the president’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

Since his unceremonious departure, Mattis has kept a low profile. His book “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” (Random House) is scheduled for release on Sept. 3.