Monday, May 30, 2016

Gen McMaster talk on the US Military after Afghanistan

HPU alumnus John Hansen, HPU visiting professor Dr. Allen Millett,
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster,
and Department Chair Dr. Patrick Bratton
Hawai‘i Pacific University was privileged to host a talk on Wednesday, May 25, by the renowned military thinker and historian, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster. 

General McMaster is currently the Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and Deputy Commanding General, Futures, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Previously he served as Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force Shafafiyat (Transparency) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Beyond his military career, he holds a Ph.D. in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. General McMaster published a book titled Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam, which outlines how and why the United States became involved in Vietnam. 

The focus of General McMaster’s talk was on the challenges to both U.S. national security and the state of the U.S. military after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using Carl von Clausewitz’s insights about the nature of war, he talked about many of the continuities that exist even with all the social and technological changes in the world:
·         That war is an extension of politics;
·         War reflects human relationships;
·         War is uncertain; and
·         War is a contest of wills. 

General McMaster is concerned about the ability of the U.S. and the U.S. military to learn from recent and ongoing conflicts. In particular, he is concerned with a fixation on high technology, the lack of a grand strategy, and the temptations of isolationism. He also discussed the need for the U.S. to value allies, joint power, deterrence, and consolidation of gains.

After his remarks, General McMaster opened it up for questions and the audience from both the HPU and Honolulu community had a stimulating conversation with the General.  He ended the discussion with thanks to HPU and particularly the Diplomacy and Military Studies (DMS) Program for hosting him and being a center that fosters important discussion on the questions of war, peace and security.

HPU alumnus (Master of Arts DMS) and 2013 valedictorian, John Hansen, introduced General McMaster and along with Dr. Patrick Bratton, the Chair of the Department of History and International Studies, organized and sponsored the event. 

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