Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster, a Hoover Institution visiting fellow and National Security Affairs Fellow for the 2002–3 academic year, has been appointed to serve as national security advisor in the Trump administration.
Early in his career, McMaster commanded Eagle Troop, Second Armored Calvary Regiment, in Operation Desert Storm, leading the vastly outnumbered troop in a sweeping defeat of Iraqi Republican Guard forces at the Battle of 73 Easting. McMaster earned a Silver Star for his leadership in that battle, which became an intensively researched case study in successful combat strategy. His leadership of the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment in Iraq during Operation Restoring Rights produced a major victory in securing the al Qaeda stronghold of Tal Afar and helped prove the effectiveness of robust counterinsurgency tactics. He has held numerous other command assignments, including commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force Shafafiyat (Transparency) in Kabul, Afghanistan.
McMaster’s staff and strategy appointments include director of the Commander’s Advisory Group at US Central Command under CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid. He has served as director of concept development and experimentation and commanding general, futures, at US Army Training and Doctrine Command, and as director at the Army Capabilities Integration Center. He advised General David Petraeus in updating the army’s Counterinsurgency Field Manual.
McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent time as a military history instructor at West Point. He is the author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam and has published countless other scholarly and opinion pieces on military history, strategy, and leadership. He was also a consulting senior fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
In 2002, McMaster joined Hoover for an academic term in the National Security Affairs Fellowship Program, which provides rising military and diplomatic leaders with a yearlong opportunity to complete academic research at Hoover as a component of senior training programs. McMaster is currently a visiting fellow at Hoover and has published in Hoover journals including The Caravan and the Hoover Digest.
Commenting on McMaster’s appointment as national security advisor, Hoover Institution director Tom Gilligan stated:
President Trump couldn’t have chosen a finer strategist or better intellect to be at the helm of the White House National Security Council. We wish Lt. Gen. McMaster the best as he takes on this endeavor in his continued service to our nation.
McMaster’s Hoover colleagues, including Michael McFaul and Victor Davis Hanson, as well as numerous other scholars and policy makers, have joined Gilligan in applauding the appointment. The Hoover Institution is pleased to share the following selections of McMaster’s work that provide a window into the wisdom and experience that he will apply in this new role.
- “#Leadership through Example,” at The Bridge
- “Eagle Troop at the Battle of 73 Easting: Lessons for Today’s Small Unit Leaders,” at The Bridge
- “The Pipe Dream of Easy War,” in the New York Times
- “A Warrior Scholar Looks at Afghanistan,” an interview with McMaster on Afghanistan originally printed in the Wall Street Journal and reprinted in the Hoover Digest
- “Consolidating Gains and Hardening the Afghan State Against Organized Crime and Enemy Subversion,” in Hoover’s journal The Caravan