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Max Boot

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies

Expertise

U.S. foreign policy; defense policy; military history; terrorism and guerrilla warfare.

Programs

National Security and Defense Program

Featured Publications

All Publications

Op-Ed

Eastern Europe Can Defend Itself

Author: Max Boot
Wall Street Journal

 

Eastern Europe’s defense spending has slowed in recent years, a trend that leaves it vulnerable to Russian aggression, writes Max Boot. While countries like the U.S. can help if needed, countries like Georgia and Hungary must bolster their own security and deter any Russian aggression by spending more of their GDP on defense and increasing the standing numbers of their militaries.

See more in Europe; Defense Budget

Op-Ed

Behind Maliki's Games

Author: Max Boot
Washington Post

Max Boot writes that Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki’s ambiguous statements about a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq are an attempt at political posturing before the upcoming presidential elections.

See more in Conflict Assessment; Iraq

Op-Ed

The Heir Up There

Author: Max Boot
New York Times

Eevry chief-of-staff of the Air Force for the past quarter century was first a fighter jet pilot. Last week, however, there was a changing of the guard as Gen. Norton A. Schwartz took over the position. Max Boot discusses the implications of having a Chief that does not come from a fighter jet background and the effect this will have on the appropriation of the Air Force budget.

See more in Organization of Government

Op-Ed

Re-upping in Iraq

Author: Max Boot
Los Angeles Times

“For every two steps forward in Iraq, there is also a step backward,” says Max Boot, referring to the faltering negotiations between the U.S. and Iraqi governments over the conditions of the United States’ continued presence in Iraq. Sticking points include whether U.S. soldiers and private security contractors will maintain immunity from Iraqi prosecution, and whether the U.S. will continue to have the freedom to detain terrorist suspects without Iraqi approval.

See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft; Iraq; Conflict Assessment

Op-Ed

The Truth About Iraq's Casualty Count

Author: Max Boot
Wall Street Journal

April was still one of the lighter-casualty months during the long war in Iraq. It could be a sign that tough combat is under way that will lead to the enemy’s defeat and the creation of a more peaceful environment in the future, says Max Boot.

See more in Iraq; Wars and Warfare

Current Projects

Roundtable Series on National Security Affairs

Director: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
July 2007—Present

This series focuses on issues, primarily military, that affect American national security. The series begins withan early focus on the war on Iraq, and later roundtables examine issues relating to the transformation of the American armed forces to cope with warfare in the information age.

Past Projects

Study Group on the History of Military Revolutions

Staff: Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies
March 1, 2003—Present

This study group will result in a book that examines four major technological revolutions of the past 500 years (Gunpowder, Industrial, Mechanization, and Computerization) and how they transformed warfare and the international balance-of-power. For each military revolution, Mr. Boot will provide dramatic narratives of key conflicts--from the battle of the Spanish Armada to the recent war in Afghanistan--that highlight the effects of changing technologies on strategy. In addition, Mr. Boot applies the lessons of history to current dilemmas, examining crucial questions such as how long America's military advantage will last, and what the United States can do to preserve its hegemony.

This project has been made possible with the generous support from the following:

Smith Richardson Foundation

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Randolph Foundation

Roger and Susan Hertog

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

Carnegie Corporation

John M. Olin Foundation

 

Press/Panels

Bio

Max Boot is one of America's leading military historians and foreign-policy analysts. The Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Boot is also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and the Los Angeles Times, and a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and other publications.

Boot's newest book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present, was released in January 2013 by W.W. Norton & Co./Liveright and immediately became a New York Times Bestseller. It was acclaimed as "enormous, brilliant, and important" (Michael Korda, the Daily Beast) and "thoughtful, smart, fluent, with an eye for the good story" (Michael Mazower, New York Times Book Review, front page). John Nagl wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "Mr. Boot's impressive work of military history is destined to be the classic account of what may be the oldest as well as the hardest form of war."

His previous book, War Made New: Technology, Warfare, and the Course of History, 1500 to Today (Gotham Books, 2006), has been hailed as a "magisterial survey of technology and war" by the New York Times and "brilliantly crafted history" by the Wall Street Journal.

Boot's first book of military history, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power (Basic Books) was selected as one of the best books of 2002 by numerous newspapers, won the 2003 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation as the best nonfiction book pertaining to Marine Corps history, and has been placed on Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy professional reading lists. More than 100,000 copies of his books are in print.

Boot has served as an adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2007–2008 and a defense policy adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2011–2012.

Boot is a frequent public speaker and guest on radio and television news programs, both at home and abroad. He has lectured on behalf of the U.S. State Department and at many military institutions, including the Army, Navy, and Air War Colleges, the Australian Defense College, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare School, and West Point.

In 2004, he was named by the World Affairs Councils of America as one of "the 500 most influential people in the United States in the field of foreign policy." In 2007, he won the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, given annually to a writer who exhibits "love of country and its democratic institutions" and "bears witness to the evils of totalitarianism."

Before joining the Council in 2002, Boot spent eight years as a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal, the last five years as op-ed editor. From 1992 to 1994 he was an editor and writer at the Christian Science Monitor.

Boot holds a bachelor's degree in history, with high honors, from the University of California, Berkeley (1991), and a master's degree in history from Yale University (1992). He was born in Russia, grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in the New York area. He has three children: Victoria, Abigail, and William.