Mitchell was a decorated veteran of the Second Tiberium War, renowned for his youth, aggressiveness and tactical innovation.
After the end of the war, GDI believed that the Brotherhood of Nod was no longer a threat, and shifted its focus and most of its research budget toward Tiberium abatement operations, and Mitchell was one of the more vocal dissenters within the GDI military. Mitchell contended that while Nod may have been defeated, it would be foolish for GDI to assume that no successor would rise from the dispirited populace of an increasingly Tiberium-stricken earth. Therefore, he argued, funds allocated towards Tiberium control should instead be earmarked for the research and development of new combat technology, in anticipation of this next potential conflict.
After a lengthy, volatile hearing, Mitchell emerged with a partial victory. While GDI refused to divert a significant part of its R&D budget to the General's cause, they did agree to fund a new experimental combat technology division under Mitchell. Dubbed the 'Steel Talons' by Mitchell's admirers - notably famed war hero Nick Seymour Parker - this elite, unconventional combat battalion quickly rose to prominence in the splinter faction skirmishes that followed Nod's implosion, becoming known both for their ruthless efficiency on the battlefield and for the shroud of secrecy they maintained at all other times.