H. R. McMaster

Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow

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


It Is A Delusion To Believe The Taliban Rebrand: These Child Abusers Are A Threat To Humanity

by H. R. McMastervia The Times
Monday, September 13, 2021

[Subscription Required] The surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban is the result of an extreme case of collective amnesia and self-delusion that continues to undermine the international response to the unfolding catastrophe there. Motivated by the desire to justify that surrender and rationalise the humiliating retreat from Kabul, western military and political leaders have forgotten who it was we fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan for two decades.

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GoodFellows: Safer But Not Yet Safe

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Condoleezza Ricevia Fellow Talks
Friday, September 10, 2021

The approaching twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the American homeland is a time to remember the fallen and reflect on lessons learned from that terrible day, including America’s readiness for a similar event. Condoleezza Rice, the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and President George W. Bush’s national security advisor at the time of the attacks, joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson and John Cochrane to relive the White House’s response that day and shares her concerns about US national security moving forward.

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Return Of The Taliban: A Conversation With Yalda Hakim, BBC World Service

Thursday, September 9, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and Yalda Hakim discuss her film “Return of Taliban” which explores the Taliban of today, what they stand for and what is at stake in the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

H.R. McMaster in conversation with Yalda Hakim on Thursday, September 9 at 9:00am PT.

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The Rise And Fall Of Osama Bin Laden: A Conversation With Peter Bergen

Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and Peter Bergen discuss the history and evolution of jihadist terrorist groups, their objectives, and the implications for international security.

H.R. McMaster in conversation with Peter Bergen on Tuesday, September 7 at 9:00am PT.

In the News

Afghanistan To Become ‘New Epicenter Of Jihadist Terrorism’, Retired Army Lieutenant General Says

featuring H. R. McMastervia Christianity Daily
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A retired Army lieutenant general who served under the Trump administration as a national security advisor is criticising the pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which he believes will become the "new epicenter of jihadist terrorism" as it is now controlled by the Taliban.


Full McMaster Interview: 'This War Ended In Self-Defeat'

interview with H. R. McMastervia NBC News
Sunday, August 29, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster talks about the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.


H.R. McMaster: The War On Terror Didn't Just End

interview with H. R. McMastervia The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, August 29, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster discusses Afghanistan and the war on terror.


McMaster On Afghanistan Carnage: 'What We Saw Today Is Just The Beginning'

interview with H. R. McMastervia Yahoo! News
Saturday, August 28, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster calls on President Biden to “reverse course” in the aftermath of Thursday’s terrorist bombings in Kabul, urging him to scrap his deadline for pulling US troops out of Afghanistan, cut off dealings with the Taliban, and launch a new war on terror against jihadi networks throughout Central Asia.


H.R. McMaster On Firing Line With Margaret Hoover

interview with H. R. McMastervia Firing Line with Margaret Hoover
Friday, August 27, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster talks about the suicide attack that killed at least 13 US service members outside the Kabul airport as well as the many problems in Afghanistan and how the US should respond.

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The Long War And U.S. Policy In South Asia And The Middle East

Thursday, August 26, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and General John Abizaid discuss the evolution of the Long War against jihadist terrorist organizations, what is at stake across the greater Middle East, and what we might learn from our experience since 9-11.

H.R. McMaster in conversation with General John Abizaid on Thursday, August 26 at 9:00am PT.



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