Sean McFate, a strategist and expert on twenty-first century warfare, is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, and the National Defense University. He is an adviser to Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. McFate is also an expert on mercenaries and is a regular consultant to the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency, and Hollywood, and has appeared on all major news networks.

His career began as a paratrooper and officer in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Later, he became a global private military contractor. He dealt with African warlords, raised armies for US interests, rode with armed groups in the Sahara, conducted strategic reconnaissance for the extractive industry, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe, and helped prevent an impending genocide in central Africa.

McFate authored The New Rules of War: How America Can Win—Against Russia, China, and Other Threats, hailed as the “the Freakonomics of modern warfare” by its publishers. It has been translated into nine languages and was named a 2019 Book of the Year by The Economist. In the United Kingdom, it is titled, Goliath: Why the West Doesn’t Win Wars. And What We Need to Do About It. McFate also authored The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order , which Foreign Affairs called “essential reading.”  

McFate is also a novelist and wrote the Tom Locke Series based on his own military experiences. “Sean McFate just might be the next Tom Clancy, only I think he’s even better,” said New York Times bestselling author James Patterson.

McFate has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Hill, Foreign Policy, Politico, Daily Beast, and War on the Rocks. He has appeared on CNN’s Amanpour, Morning Joe, Fox and Friends, MSNBC, Fox, CBS, Sky News, National Public Radio, BBC, Vice/HBO, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel.

McFate holds a BA from Brown University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics. He was also a fellow at Oxford.