H. R. McMaster

Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow
Biography: 

H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  He was the 26th assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984, McMaster 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 has extensive experience leading soldiers and organizations in wartime including Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Commander, 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 holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994 to 1996.  He is author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and the award-winning Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.  He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.  His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Survival, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.  

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A Conversation with Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster

featuring H. R. McMastervia Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
Sunday, December 14, 2014

One of our recent secretaries of defense once said famously, "You go to war with the Army that you have." Well, the Army we have in 2025 will be shaped in large part by the work of General McMaster and his staff as they make recommendations to our political leaders. The choices are freighted with ethical significance. We appreciate his coming here today to share some of his thoughts with us.

The Pipe Dream of Easy War

by H. R. McMastervia New York Times
Saturday, July 20, 2013

FORT BENNING, Ga. — “A GREAT deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep,” the novelist Saul Bellow once wrote. We should keep that in mind when we consider the lessons from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — lessons of supreme importance as we plan the military of the future.

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Why the U.S. Army Needs Armor: The Case for a Balanced Force

by Chris McKinney, Mark Elfendahl, H. R. McMastervia Foreign Affairs
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ever since World War II, the United States has depended on armored forces -- forces equipped with tanks and other protected vehicles -- to wage its wars. General Omar Bradley, the senior field commander of the U.S. ground forces that conquered Nazi Germany, noted in his official after-action report that tank warfare, especially when combined with airpower, proved essential in defeating the Wehrmacht.

H. R. McMaster at Pentagon event

A Warrior-Scholar Looks at Afghanistan

by H. R. McMaster, David Feithvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 26, 2012

Hoover fellow and major general H. R. McMaster refuses to entertain illusions or wishful thinking about Afghanistan. He sees neither a triumph nor a lost cause. By David Feith.

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Consolidating Gains and Hardening the Afghan State Against Organized Crime and Enemy Subversion

by H. R. McMastervia The Caravan
Monday, April 16, 2012

The mass murder attacks against our own nation on September 11, 2001 and subsequent attacks on other nations including the U.K., Spain, and India, demonstrate clearly the importance of denying transnational terrorist organizations access to the resources, freedom of movement, safe havens, and ideological space they need to plan, organize, and conduct these attacks.

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This Familiar Battleground

by H. R. McMastervia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 9, 2009

Policy makers, in their haste to forget the Vietnam War, also forgot to learn from it. By H. R. McMaster.

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In the News

The Human Element: When Gadgetry Becomes Strategy

by H. R. McMastervia World Affairs Journal
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the political debates concerning the nature and scope of U.S. involvement in those countries, have resurrected the “lessons” of Vietnam once again...

H.R. McMaster

H. R. McMaster: The Problem of Future War

with H. R. McMastervia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Col. Herbert Raymond McMaster speaks on The Problem of Future War: What Can We Learn from History and Contemporary Conflicts?

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Analysis and Commentary

Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome

by H. R. McMastervia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, February 17, 2003

Rather than helping us avoid folly, the symbolic memory of Vietnam poses a danger.

Analysis and Commentary

A Call for a Broad View

by H. R. McMastervia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, October 28, 2002

Revisiting why intelligence indicators did not generate warnings and defensive action before December 7, 1941, seems relevant to September 11, 2001.

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