Mark Moyar

Mark Moyar


Mark Moyar is the director of the Center of Military and Diplomatic History in Washington, DC. His newest book is Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces (Basic Books, 2017). His other books include Aid for Elites: Building Partner Nations and Ending Poverty Through Human Capital (Cambridge University Press, 2016); Strategic Failure: How President Obama’s Drone Warfare, Defense Cuts, and Military Amateurism Have Imperiled America (Threshold, 2015); A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale University Press, 2009); Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2006); and Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam (Naval Institute Press, 1997; University of Nebraska Press, 2007).  Moyar has served as a professor at the US Marine Corps University and a senior fellow at the Joint Special Operations University and has advised the senior leadership of several US military commands. He holds a BA summa cum laude from Harvard and a PhD from Cambridge.

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Recent Commentary

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Advising The President

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Monday, January 30, 2017

Early in the second week of his presidency, Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy with an executive order altering the composition of the National Security Council. The measure reduced the participation of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to meetings for which their expertise was relevant.

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America First—Always

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

“From this moment on, it’s going to be America First,” President Donald Trump proclaimed in his inaugural address. “Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” Although the new president did not delve into specifics in the address, he has made clear previously that “America First” policies will include tariffs, curbs on immigration, and reductions in overseas commitments, particularly those involving risk of military conflict.

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Mosul And The Future Of Iraq

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The 100,000-man assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul has reportedly made swift gains in recent days. After months of slow going, the assault force of Iraqi Army soldiers and Kurdish and Shiite militiamen appears to be wearing down the heavily outnumbered ISIS defenders. Obama administration officials are touting the recent advances as vindication of their strategy of restricting American participation to advice and support of local forces.

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Increased Support For Afghanistan

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This past week, the Marine Corps announced that it will be deploying 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s Helmand province to serve in an “advise-and-assist” capacity. According to Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., who will command these Marines, their duties will include helping the Afghans in intelligence, logistics, and other combat-enabling functions. Their most immediate concern will be the defense of the province’s beleaguered capital, Lashkar Gah.

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Leaving Behind “Leading From Behind”

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Monday, October 31, 2016

In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned as a foreign policy moderate, wary of the aggressive interventionism of the George W. Bush administration but willing to take on a leading role for America in combating particularly ominous threats. While promising to pull the remaining American forces out of Iraq, he vowed to send additional troops to Afghanistan. He said that he would collaborate with other nations to a greater extent than Bush, but at the same time served notice that he would act unilaterally when vital U.S. interests were at stake.

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Seven Deadly Strategic Sins

by Mark Moyarvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

A common thread runs through US military disappointments: errors at the top.

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The White House’s Seven Deadly Errors

by Mark Moyarvia Defining Ideas
Friday, February 12, 2016

Why have so many of America’s military interventions failed over the past decade? 

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Typologies Of Terrorism

by Mark Moyarvia Strategika
Monday, February 1, 2016

The term “terrorism” is commonly understood as political violence outside the norms of conflicts between states. Terrorism’s victims can be innocent civilians, or they can be political officials or even soldiers. More controversial is the term “terrorist.” 

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Taliban Tactics Hinder Special Operations Forces

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Thursday, January 7, 2016

In response to deteriorating security conditions in southern Afghanistan, the United States recently deployed special operations forces (SOF) to Helmand province. On Tuesday, one of them was killed, and two others were wounded, raising new questions about the ongoing war and America’s role in it.

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Firm Resolve Needed to Counter Putin’s Unpredictability

by Mark Moyarvia Military History in the News
Friday, December 18, 2015

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, informed the press last week that Russia is intensifying its military activities in the Suwalki Gap, a sixty-mile stretch of terrain in northern Poland.