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

Featured AnalysisFeatured

Conciliation And Delusion: The Case For Maximum Pressure On Iran

by H. R. McMastervia The Caravan
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

“Anyone who will say that religion is separate from politics is a fool; he does not know Islam or politics.” -Khomeini

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‘Tear Down This Wall’: The Power Of Reagan’s 1987 Speech Endures

by H. R. McMastervia National Review
Saturday, June 12, 2021

The president’s message of Western resolve in the face of Soviet communism is applicable to today’s threat from China.

Office HoursAnalysis and Commentary

The Case For American Engagement Abroad: Office Hours With H.R. McMaster

interview with H. R. McMastervia PolicyEd
Thursday, June 10, 2021

Hoover Institution senior fellow H.R. McMaster answers the most frequently asked questions from his video series “The Fight to Defend the Free World.”

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Denmark: NATO, The European Union, And The Future Of The Transatlantic Community

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and former Danish Prime Minister and former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen discuss the upcoming NATO Summit, international security, and the future of democracy and free markets.   

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Policy BriefsAnalysis and Commentary

H. R. McMaster Explains What It Means To Have A Strategy

by H. R. McMastervia PolicyEd
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

H. R. McMaster explains why having a strategy is essential to making progress against an adversary.

Policy InsightsFeatured

Cybersecurity

featuring Jacquelyn Schneider, Amy Zegart, H. R. McMaster, Herbert Lin, Tom Churchvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 27, 2021

From pipeline hacks leading to gasoline shortages to disinformation campaigns during elections, cyberattacks are becoming a more frequent source of disruption in people’s lives. Finding the right responses to these attacks isn’t obvious. Can we take lessons from traditional warfare, or do cyberattacks demand an entirely different response?

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GoodFellows: Glenn Loury: “A Man Of The West”

featuring John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, Glenn Loury, H. R. McMaster, Bill Whalenvia Fellow Talks
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Does elite thinking about the Black experience in America, as expressed via the teaching of critical race theory and the 1619 Project, benefit the descendants of slavery? Glenn Loury, a Hoover Institution distinguished visiting fellow and Brown University economist who writes frequently on racial inequality, joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane to discuss the historical and economic arcs of race in America.

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India: Opportunities And Challenges For A Strategic Partnership

Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

In this episode of Battlegrounds, H.R. McMaster and Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar discuss how the U.S. can work together with the world’s largest democracy on economics, diplomacy, and security to build a better future.

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Glenn Loury: “A Man Of The West”

interview with John H. Cochrane, Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, Glenn Louryvia GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Does elite thinking about the Black experience in America, as expressed via the teaching of critical race theory and the 1619 Project, benefit the descendants of slavery? Glenn Loury, a Hoover Institution distinguished visiting fellow and Brown University economist who writes frequently on racial inequality, joins Hoover senior fellows Niall Ferguson, H. R. McMaster, and John Cochrane to discuss the historical and economic arcs of race in America.

Cybersecurity

by Daniel Heil featuring the work of Jacquelyn Schneider, Amy Zegart, H. R. McMaster, Herbert Lin, Tom Churchvia Policy Insights | A Succinct Guide to Important Policy Questions
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

From pipeline hacks leading to gasoline shortages to disinformation campaigns during elections, cyberattacks are becoming a more frequent source of disruption in people’s lives. Finding the right responses to these attacks isn’t obvious. Can we take lessons from traditional warfare, or do cyberattacks demand an entirely different response?

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