Dr. Sean McFate is an author, novelist and foreign policy expert. He is a professor of strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC. Additionally, he is an Advisor to Oxford University's Centre for Technology and Global Affairs.
A specialist in national security strategy, McFate was a think tank scholar at the RAND Corporation, Atlantic Council, Bipartisan Policy Center, and New America Foundation. Recently, he was a visiting Scholar at Oxford University's Changing Character of War Program, where he conducted research on future war.
McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division. He served under Stan McChrystal and David Petraeus, and graduated from elite training programs, such as Jungle Warfare School in Panama. He was also a Jump Master.
McFate then became a private military contractor. Among his many experiences, he dealt with warlords, raised armies for U.S. interest, rode with armed groups in the Sahara, conducted strategic reconnaissance for oil companies, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent an impending genocide in the Rwanda region.
In the world of international business, McFate was a Vice President at TD International, a boutique political risk consulting firm with offices in Washington, Houston, Singapore and Zurich. Additionally, he was a manager at DynCorp International, a consultant at BearingPoint (now Deloitte Consulting) and an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton.
McFate's newest book is The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder (William Morrow). Admiral Jim Stavridis (retired), the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said: "Stunning. Sean McFate is a new Sun Tzu." McFate also authored The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order (Oxford University Press) which explains how the privatization of war is changing warfare. The Economist called it a “fascinating and disturbing book.”
McFate also write fiction based on his military experiences. He co-authored the novels Shadow War and Deep Black (William Morrow), part of the Tom Locke series. New York Times #1 bestselling author Mark Greaney said: “I was blown away…. simply one of the most entertaining and intriguing books I’ve read in quite some time.”
A coveted speaker, McFate has appeared before the British House of Commons, top universities and popular audience venues. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Politico, Daily Beast, CNBC, Vice Magazine, Aeon, War on the Rocks, Military Review and African Affairs. He has appeared on CNN's Amanpour, MSNBC's Morning Joe, Fox and Friends, NPR, BBC, Economist, Vice/HBO, The Discovery Channel, and American Heroes Channel. As a scholar, he has authored eight book chapters in edited academic volumes and published a monograph for the U.S. Army War College on how to raise foreign armies.
McFate holds a BA from Brown University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He lives in Washington, DC.