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Trump Selects Lt. General H.R. McMaster To Be National Security Adviser

Trump McMaster

President Trump has actually made a good pick for National Security Adviser. As with the rest of his foreign policy team, though, the question is if he’ll listen to him.

Military Bureaucracy


Two separate reviews of The Fourth Star, a new book by David Cloud and Greg Jaffee, touch on a theme that has fascinated me since I wrote a dissertation on the subject. NYT foreign correspondent Dexter Filkins (via SWJ): “The Fourth Star” paints wonderfully dramatic portraits of the four senior officers highlighted here, but at […]

McMaster Gets Star, ARCIC Directorship

Brigadier General H.R. McMaster Photo

H.R. McMaster has been officially nominated by the president for brigadier general and is “currently enroute to serve as director, concepts development and experimentation, Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virgina.” Foreign Policy‘s Blake Hounshell reports that, The ARCIC is a relatively new center that has the potential to […]

H.R. McMaster Leads New Crop of Generals


The third time is the charm for H.R. McMaster, who is the most recognizable name on the list of new one-star generals selected by a promotion board headed up by none other than David Petraeus. An Army board headed by Gen. David H. Petraeus has selected several combat-tested counterinsurgency experts for promotion to the rank […]

Dissent in the Army


Phil Carter has an interesting debate with his Slate colleague Fred Kaplan about how the assignment of LTC Paul Yingling (of “A Failure in Generalship” fame) to a non-standard artillery assignment squares with SECDEF Robert Gates’ admonition to West Point cadets that “as an officer you don’t tell blunt truths or create an environment where […]

Surge Working, Still Losing


AP’s Robert Burns left his “base” in Washington for a two week tour of Iraq and pronounces the Surge a great success. The all-important political reconciliation, on the other hand …. The new U.S. military strategy in Iraq, unveiled six months ago to little acclaim, is working. In two weeks of observing the U.S. military […]

Fixing the Service Academies

USMA Academic Program Requirements

Op-For‘s John Noonan argues in today’s Weekly Standard that it’s time to rethink the curriculum at West Point and the other service academies. West Point and all of the service academies promote math and engineering above all other disciplines. Thayer wanted math savvy artillery officers. The Navy sought officers with a firm grasp of engineering […]

H.R. McMaster Passed Over – Reverse Peter Principle?


The legendary Colonel H.R. McMaster has been passed over, for a second time, for promotion to flag rank. Matt Bennett, a VP at the liberal Third Way sees this is a “corollary to the Peter Principle: genuinely gifted and brilliant public servants who are kept far below the level to which they should ascend.” He, […]

Serving Officer Blasts Generals’ Failures


The current Armed Forces Journal features a devastating critique of America’s generals by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling, deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Thomas Ricks runs down the highlights: An active-duty Army officer is publishing a blistering attack on U.S. generals, saying they have botched the war in Iraq and misled Congress about […]

Petraeus’ Princeton PhD Posse


WaPo fronts a Thomas Ricks piece about a “brain trust” of PhD-holding officers being assembled by LTG David Petraeus to figure out how to win the Iraq counterinsurgency. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, is assembling a small band of warrior-intellectuals — including a quirky Australian anthropologist, a Princeton economist who […]

Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld Resignation


Two big stories are out today in the major press about a growing and potentially worrisome trend: Public statements by recently-retired flag officers against their former bosses. Thomas Ricks gives the story page A01 treatment at WaPo. The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining […]

Iraq War Success Stories


I have come across several pieces recently talking about very successful counter-insurgency operations in Iraq by American special operators. Together, they provide some useful lessons learned (or, as some military wags would note, “Lessons Identified”–they’ve been “learned” many times to little avail). I started a post on this piece Monday and get sidetracked: In Iraq, […]

Critics: Pentagon Still Not Adjusting to Insurgency


According to the creators of the “4th Generation Warfare” concept, the Pentagon has not adjusted to the new security environment despite having a nearly twenty years’ warning. Critics: Pentagon in blinders (Chicago Tribune) Nearly 16 years ago, a group of four military officers and a civilian predicted the rise of terrorism and anti-American insurgencies with […]