H. R. McMaster

Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow

H. R. McMaster was the 26th assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. He served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years before retiring as a Lieutenant General in June 2018.

From 2014 to 2017 McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. His extensive experience leading soldiers and organizations in wartime includes commander of the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Commander of Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster led or col-ed important strategic assessments including the revision of Iraq strategy during the “surge” of 2007 and efforts to develop security forces and governmental institutions in post-war Iraq. In 2009–2010, he co-led an assessment and planning effort to develop a comprehensive strategy for the greater Middle East.

McMaster was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994 to 1996 where he taught undergraduate courses in military history and history of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also taught a graduate course on the history of military leadership for officers enrolled in the Columbia University MBA program.

He is author of the award-winning book, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. He has published scores of essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare in many publications including Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.

McMaster was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984. He holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Recent Commentary


H.R. McMaster on Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

featuring H. R. McMastervia Firing Line with Margaret Hoover
Friday, April 12, 2019

Retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster discusses his time as President Trump’s National Security Advisor, his military career that spanned 30 years including service in both Iraq wars, the rise of a new generation of geopolitical threats, and what America needs to do to stay secure.

In the News

A Conversation With Gen. H.R. McMaster

featuring H. R. McMastervia UNC Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Join Gen. H.R. McMaster in a conversation with Wayne Lee, chair of the UNC curriculum in peace, war and defense. They will discuss “Strategic Narcissism and the Need for Historical Perspective in Foreign Policy and National Security” as the opening talk for the TISS conference. McMaster (Ph.D. history ’96) is a retired U.S. Army general. In 2017, he became the 26th national security advisor, serving under President Donald Trump. 

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Hoover Senior Fellow H.R. McMaster At The 19th World Knowledge Forum

by H. R. McMastervia Fellow Talks
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Marking the 19th anniversary of the World Knowledge Forum, around 200 speakers and 3,500 audiences gathered to discuss various agendas under the theme of “Collective Intelligence: Overcoming Global Pandemonium”. Hoover Senior Fellow and H. R. McMaster, the 26th White House National Security Council (NSC) Advisor of the Trump administration was featured.

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A New Afghanistan with H.R. McMaster and Janan Mosazai

interview with H. R. McMaster, Janan Mosazaivia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 14, 2018


H.R. McMaster and Janan Mosazai discuss the current state of Afghanistan, it’s position in the Middle East and Asia, and the path forward for the country. 

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A New Afghanistan With H.R. McMaster And Janan Mosazai

interview with H. R. McMaster, Janan Mosazaivia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

H.R. McMaster and Janan Mosazai discuss the current state of Afghanistan, it’s position in the Middle East and Asia, and the path forward for the country.

John McCain

John McCain And The Meaning Of Courage

by H. R. McMastervia Foreign Affairs
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian philosopher of war, wrote in the early nineteenth century that “courage is of two kinds: first, physical courage, or courage in the presence of danger; and next, moral courage, or courage before responsibility.” The late U.S. Senator John McCain demonstrated both types.

Remarks By LTG H.R. McMaster At Atlantic Council Baltic Summit Dinner

by H. R. McMaster
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

President Kaljulaid, President Vejonis, Minister Linkevicius, distinguished guests and colleagues from the United States and our allies, it is an honor to address you this evening on the historic occasion of the U.S.-Baltic Centennial Summit. I want to congratulate Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania once again on their 100th Anniversary of Independence.

USS Bataan (LHD-5), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.

Remarks By LTG H.R. McMaster At The United States Naval Academy

by H. R. McMaster
Sunday, January 21, 2018

Thank you, Tayler (MIDN Johnston) for that introduction.  I am honored to have the opportunity to address you—the future leaders and officers of our American Navy and Marine Corps — the greatest naval force the World has known. I want to thank all of you for your patriotism and for your willingness to serve our nation and your fellow sailors and Marines.

Remarks By LTG H.R. McMaster At The Reagan National Defense Forum: Reclaiming America’S Strategic Confidence

by H. R. McMaster
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thank you, John, for that kind introduction, and thanks to the Reagan National Defense Forum for bringing together such a talented and dedicated group of people for these discussions. Today, I would like to talk about reclaiming America’s strategic confidence.

"Think-Learn-Analyze-Implement: How the Army Develops Capability and Capacity to Develop the Future Force" at College of William and Mary

by H. R. McMaster
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The US Army develops capabilities to improve the combat effectiveness of the future force by using the "Think-Learn-Analyze-Implement" construct.