McMaster Seeks to Inspire Discussion, Action

McMaster Seeks to Inspire Discussion, Action

Man standing on stage
Photo by: U.S. Navy/Chief Mass Communication Specialist James E. Foehl

A retired Army general is on a mission to inspire “discussion and resolute action” through his perspective on foreign policy, national security threats and strategy. 

“I made ... a mission statement for myself when I retired in 2018,” Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, former U.S. national security adviser and deputy commanding general of Army Training and Doctrine Command, said Dec. 4 during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Thought Leaders webinar.

“That was to try my best to contribute to a better understanding of the challenges that we faced,” he said, and “to help Americans and others across the free world identify what we can do together to build a better future for generations to come.”

In his book, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, McMaster calls on readers to educate themselves on “the most significant challenges to security, freedom and prosperity” facing the U.S. today.

Drawing on his experiences in the Army and the White House, McMaster reassesses American foreign policy and provides a pathway for the U.S. to improve strategic competence in Battlegrounds.

“What’s so important ... these days is for us to improve our strategic competence by focusing in part on the integration of all elements of national power and the efforts of like-minded partners,” McMaster said.

According to the author, a strategic plan is “always about the framing.” Rather than “fit what’s happening in the world” into theories based on political science and international relations, challenges should be understood “in their own terms,” he said.

And the study of history—which is “an exercise in humility,” he said—plays a role. Understanding how “the recent past produced the present, as the first step in trying to anticipate the future, I think that's the skill set we really, really need to have,” McMaster said.

Battlegrounds is available here.

Watch the webinar recording here.