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

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GoodFellows: Advance, Retreat, Resign

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMastervia Fellow Talks
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.


How To Avert Disaster In Afghanistan

by H. R. McMaster, Bradley Bowmanvia The Wall Street Journal
Monday, July 26, 2021

[Subscription required] The least the U.S. can do is offer air support, intel and ensure proper logistics and maintenance contracting.

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Japan: The Legacy Of Japan's Longest Serving Prime Minister

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe reflect on his service as prime minister, shared security challenges, and the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.


H.R. McMaster’s Battlegrounds

interview with H. R. McMastervia Marines Memorial Club
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Hoover Institution fellow H. R. McMaster's discussion with PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent Mike Cerre at the Marines' Memorial Club.

Better Footing

by H. R. McMastervia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

How to grapple with Chinese ambitions—military, economic, and ideological.

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Canada: America's Nearest Ally

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and former Canadian Ambassador to the US David MacNaughton discuss the U.S.-Canada relationship and its implications for trade, economics, security, and climate policy.

Policy InsightsFeatured

America: Growth Of A Young Nation

featuring Condoleezza Rice, Edward Paul Lazear, Larry Diamond, Michael McConnell, H. R. McMaster, George P. Shultz, General Jim Mattisvia PolicyEd
Friday, July 2, 2021

What makes the American experiment unique and what can we do to improve it?

Matters of Policy & Politics
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Matters Of Policy & Politics: Philadelphia Freedom

interview with H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Thursday, July 1, 2021

Lt. Gen H.R. McMaster revisits his introduction to Independence Day as a Philadelphia native.

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That ‘70s Show

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMastervia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Tuesday, June 29, 2021

To the adage of repeating the past, does a stretch of inflation at home, the end of prolonged military involvement in a faraway land, and a president lamenting a nation in crisis suggest a return to the America of the 1970s? Hoover Institution senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane discuss the differences between then and now—after sharing photos showcasing their ’70s finery.


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