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

In the News

McMaster: Rapid Taliban Takeover 'Should Not Have Come As A Surprise'

featuring H. R. McMastervia The Hill
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan “should not have come as a surprise” to the Biden administration, which he argued adopted, along with former President Trump, a policy of repeated concessions to the insurgent group.

Interviews

Former Trump National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster On Afghanistan Collapse

interview with H. R. McMastervia CBS News
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster discusses the collapse of Afghanistan's government and the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country.

Interviews

Former Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Faults Both Biden And Trump For 'Capitulation' To Taliban

interview with H. R. McMastervia CNN
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster discusses called the rapid collapse of the Afghan government a “failure across multiple [American] administrations.”

Featured

H.R. McMaster: A Small Commitment Of Forces Had An Impact In Afghanistan

interview with H. R. McMastervia MSNBC
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster discusses Afghan withdrawal and the importance of a small commitment of troops in the region.

Featured

Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan Is An ‘American Catastrophe,’ H.R. McMaster Says

interview with H. R. McMastervia PBS NewsHour
Monday, August 16, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster examines the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan and how it impacts US interests.

Interviews

H.R. McMaster: Afghanistan Withdrawal A 'Humanitarian Crisis Of Colossal Scale'

interview with H. R. McMastervia Fox News
Monday, August 16, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster reacts to the chaos unfolding in Kabul.

Featured

In Afghanistan, The Tragic Toll Of Washington Delusion

by H. R. McMaster, Bradley Bowmanvia The Wall Street Journal
Sunday, August 15, 2021

[Subscription Required] Pundits repeat the mantra that there was ‘no military solution.’ The Taliban seem to have come up with one.

Interviews

‘Not An Afghanistan Problem But A Humanity Problem’ - Gen. McMaster

interview with H. R. McMastervia BBC
Thursday, August 12, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster talks about Afghanistan and notes that it is unfair to say Afghans need to fight against Taliban militants by themselves this is a humanity and humanitarian problem.

In the News

HR McMaster Slams Biden Over Afghanistan Withdrawal

quoting H. R. McMastervia The National
Thursday, August 12, 2021

US Army veteran and former head of NSA says removing troops could lead to civil war ‘on steroids’.

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Advance, Retreat, Resign

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMastervia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Wednesday, August 11, 2021

America’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the onset of the Delta variant raise questions as to the success of the war on terror and the war on COVID-19. Hoover Institution senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane discuss what all has gone wrong of late on those respective battlefields, plus a few thoughts on the rise and fall of New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

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