WASHINGTON, February 20, 2017 – Herbert Raymond “H. R.” McMaster (b. July 24, 1962 is an American soldier and a career officer in the U.S. Army. President Trump has announced that McMaster will serve as the National Security Advisor, following General Mike Flynn’s resignation.
General McMaster’s past assignment as Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command allows this man, considered a soldier’s soldier, to be a positive addition to the Trump administration security team.
McMaster previously served as Commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Ft. Benning, Georgia and Director of Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-Shafafiyat (CJIATF-Shafafiyat) (Transparency) at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is known for his roles in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and his reputation for questioning U.S. policy and military leaders regarding the Vietnam War.
He is known for his roles in the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom. McMaster was the commanding captain of Eagle Troop of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Battle of 73 Easting, one of the key battles of the war in the Persian Gulf War. Reports of the engagement had the U.S. troops outnumbered by the Iraqi forces, however their nine tanks easily defeated the enemy’s forces who were using outdated technology and processes.
Of that battle McMasters wrote the essay for The Strategy Bridge, saying that future wars will look very different from this nearly three-decade-old battle, but it still has lessons for today’s commanders.
“Although future battles will likely be fought against more capable enemies and under more challenging and complex conditions, there are lessons from battlefield victories twenty-five years ago that remain relevant to combat readiness today and in the future,” McMaster wrote. “Well-trained, confident platoons and companies provide the foundation for our Army’s and Joint Force’s ability to fight.”
McMaster is known to challenge military and political leadership, in particular, his book Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. The book, written as part of the Major Ph.D. dissertation, explores the military’s role in the policies of the Vietnam War and the failure of President Lyndon Johnson, along with advisor Robert McNamara and Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a plan of action to pacify either a Viet Cong insurgency or decisively defeat the North Vietnamese Army.
Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster was recognized by Time magazine (2014) as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The magazine wrote:
Major General Herbert Raymond McMaster might be the 21st century Army’s pre-eminent warrior-thinker. Recently tapped for his third star, H.R. is also the rarest of soldiers — one who has repeatedly bucked the system and survived to join its senior ranks.
He initially gained renown as a cavalry commander, earning a Silver Star in 1991’s Gulf War after his nine tanks wiped out more than 80 Iraqi tanks and other vehicles. His reputation grew after his 1997 book, Dereliction of Duty, boldly blasted the Joint Chiefs for their poor leadership during Vietnam.
Despite impressive command and unconventional exploits in the second Iraq war, the outspoken McMaster was passed over twice for selection for his first star. I watched senior Army generals argue over ways to end his career. But he dodged those bullets and will soon take over command of the Army’s “futures” center. After years as an outspoken critic, McMaster soon will be in the right place to help build the right Army for the nation.
General McMaster also offers expertise in military relations with Russia and bolstering the U.S. Army to be prepared for increased aggression from Russia. One of McMaster’s past tasks has been to predict how the U.S. will handle future threats. In April of last year, he spoke before the Air-Land subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee warning that the Army is too small, which aligns with President Trumps promises to regrow the military.
“We are outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries,” McMaster told reports Breaking Defense. “[And] our army in the future risks being too small to secure the nation.”
At the time of his testimony, there were only 980,000 soldiers in the Army. The Army Times later reported that the Army is at its smallest size since before World War II.
“As we look to the future sir, we think that risk will become unacceptable,” McMaster told Senators. Even today, “we’re having a harder and harder time for the smaller force to keep pace with increasing demand.”
General McMaster has also spoken out against the threat of cyber-terrorism poses to the U.S. saying to the Leder-Enquirer in a 2014 interview:
“I think cyber-terrorism — espionage as we are learning — is a significant threat. The fact is the cyber-domain is a contested space every day already,” McMaster explained to the Leder-Enquirer. “The key question is, how does this fit into the overall problems of future war?”
“I think the key thing for us is really going to be how we develop systems that are resilient, that are able to allow us to operate and communicate freely during operations. And then we have to learn how we disrupt enemy capabilities to affect us. I think we have some really great people working on this right now, but of course this is a relatively new area that we have to cope with.”
General McMaster has said that that war is “an inherently human endeavor,” and that no matter how technologically advanced the U.S. is, there is still a human factor. He is now the top human in our battles.