A Student of Military History Who Sees Similarities in All Wars

This is number five in an article on H.R. McMaster: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know. McMaster is being nominated for National Security Advisor and as the article notes, is a student of military history. Economists, on the other hand, think history is bunk, which explains a lot about what’s wrong with economics. This, for me, is quite reassuring.

In a 2012 interview with McKinsey & Company, McMaster said that his interest in military history has been an influence on his career. Even though part of his current job is about looking to the future, there are factors of war that never change.

McMaster said in 2012 that one of the failures of the Iraq and Afghanistan policies was planning for “a sustainable political outcome that would be consistent with our vital interests, and it complicated both of those wars.”

He also noted that war is “an inherently human endeavor,” and that no matter how technologically advanced the U.S. is, there is still a human factor.

“We assumed that advances in information, surveillance technology, technical-intelligence collection, automated decision-making tools, and so on were going to make war fast, cheap, efficient, and relatively risk free—that technology would lift the fog of war and make warfare essentially a targeting exercise, in which we gain visibility on enemy organizations and strike those organizations from a safe distance. But that’s not true, of course,” McMaster explained to McKinsey & Company.

During an interview with TBO.com in April 2015, McMaster stressed the importance of knowing how people act and interact when predicting the future of war.

“What we have to do is really develop the ability to think clearly about future war,” McMaster explained in 2015. “And what we have to do is identify changes in the so-called human domain and understand what is fundamentally driving conflict, which is human in nature.”

Of course, you should now read the other four as well

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