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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Recent Commentary

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“Always Be An Autodidact”

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

In this week’s episode, we dove into our mailbag of viewers’ letters. The end result: Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane answering questions ranging from the future of US-Sino relations, sovereign debt, vaccine stockpiling, and bitcoin to advice for young students, the fellows’ favorite scholars, and movies related to their respective fields.

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GoodFellows: Stable . . . And Stagnant?

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMastervia Fellow Talks
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Europe’s future includes a post-Merkel Germany, the fallout over the AUSUK technology deal, a shaky NATO alliance post-Afghanistan, Ukraine’s uncertain outlook, plus Russian control of natural gas supplies. Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane discuss the mood on the other side of the Atlantic, as well as President Biden’s UN address and China’s financial reckoning.

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Stable . . . And Stagnant?

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Europe’s future includes a post-Merkel Germany, the fallout over the AUKUS technology deal, a shaky NATO alliance post-Afghanistan, Ukraine’s uncertain outlook, plus Russian control of natural gas supplies. Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane discuss the mood on the other side of the Atlantic, as well as President Biden’s UN address and China’s financial reckoning.

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A Lost War: A Conversation with Victor Davis Hanson and H. R. McMaster on Afghanistan’s Past, Present, and Future

interview with H. R. McMaster, Victor Davis Hansonvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, September 20, 2021

AUDIO ONLY

In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, General H. R. McMaster and Victor Davis Hanson discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end. 

A Lost War: A Conversation With Victor Davis Hanson And H. R. McMaster On Afghanistan’s Past, Present, And Future

interview with Victor Davis Hanson, H. R. McMastervia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, September 20, 2021

TRANSCRIPT ONLY

In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, General H. R. McMaster and Victor Davis Hanson discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end.

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A Lost War: A Conversation With Victor Davis Hanson And H. R. McMaster On Afghanistan’s Past, Present, And Future

interview with Victor Davis Hanson, H. R. McMastervia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, September 20, 2021

In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, General H. R. McMaster and Victor Davis Hanson discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end. 

Related Commentary

A Lost War: A Conversation With Victor Davis Hanson And H. R. McMaster On Afghanistan’s Past, Present, And Future

interview with Victor Davis Hanson, H. R. McMastervia Strategika
Monday, September 20, 2021

In this frank, no-holds-barred conversation, General H. R. McMaster and Victor Davis Hanson discuss the United States’ mission in Afghanistan: how it began, how it was conducted, and its ignominious end. 

Interviews

LTG H.R. McMaster On Foreign Policy Challenges

by H. R. McMastervia The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Podcast
Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hoover Institution fellows Ayaan Hirsi Ali and H.R. McMaster talk about foreign policy challenges and threats, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the recent purging of members from military boards.

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GoodFellows: As California Goes . . .?

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Pre-COVID, California governor Gavin Newsom touted his state’s policies as “America’s coming attractions.” Does that apply to the Golden State’s recall election—its overtones of vaccine mandates, abortion rights, and championing progressive ideals setting the stage for upcoming elections? Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane discuss California’s outlook and whether the pendulum currently swings left or right in America and around the globe.

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As California Goes . . .?

with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Pre-COVID, California governor Gavin Newsom touted his state’s policies as “America’s coming attractions.” Does that apply to the Golden State’s recall election—its overtones of vaccine mandates, abortion rights, and championing progressive ideals setting the stage for upcoming elections? Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane discuss California’s outlook and whether the pendulum currently swings left or right in America and around the globe.

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