Dr. Mark Moyar joined USAID as a political appointee in February 2018. He served previously as the Director of the Project on Military and Diplomatic History at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. The author of six books, he has worked in and out of government on national security affairs, international development, foreign aid, and capacity building. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Cambridge.
Dr. Moyar’s newest book is Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces (Basic Books, 2017). The first comprehensive history of America’s special operations forces, the book builds upon research he conducted while working at US Special Operations Command. His book Aid for Elites: Building Partners and Ending Poverty with Human Capital (Cambridge University Press, 2016) illuminates the nexus of international development, governance, and security, and the value of human capital in each of these sectors. His critique of US national security policy during the Obama era is entitled Strategic Failure: How President Obama’s Drone Warfare, Defense Cuts, and Military Amateurism Have Imperiled America (Threshold, June 2015).
Dr. Moyar is the author of two groundbreaking histories of the Vietnam War: Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam (Naval Institute Press, 1997; Bison Books, 2007). Triumph Forsaken was the subject of a conference at Williams College and the book Triumph Revisited: Historians Battle for the Vietnam War (Routledge, 2010). At present, he is working on the sequel to Triumph Forsaken.
His book A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale University Press, 2009) draws upon case studies in counterinsurgency leadership to advocate an alternative approach to counterinsurgency, focused on empowering the right people rather than on implementing the right methods. The NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan commissioned a Dari translation of A Question of Command for use in training Afghanistan’s security forces, and the book is widely read among the U.S. armed forces and civilian agencies.
Dr. Moyar is a member of the Hoover Institution Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. From 2004 to 2010, he served as a professor at the U.S. Marine Corps University, where he held the Kim T. Adamson Chair of Insurgency and Terrorism. He has also taught at Texas A&M University and the Foreign Service Institute, and served as a Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University. Dr. Moyar has worked as a consultant for the senior leadership of the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.
Dr. Moyar’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. He speaks at a wide range of public and private institutions around the world. Among the subjects on which he speaks are capacity building, international development, leadership, human capital, foreign policy, grand strategy, counterinsurgency, higher education, and history.