Hoffman, Francis G.

Distinguished Research Fellow, CSR

 Email |  (202) 685-3837

Areas of Expertise:  Defense Policy; Future Strategic Concepts; Military Strategy; National Security Reform

Dr. Francis G. Hoffman holds an appointment as a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University in Washington, DC where he has served since 2011.  He is a retired U.S. Marine Reserve infantry officer with service in the 2d and 3rd Marine Divisions.  His 43 years in the U.S. defense establishment includes 30 years with the U.S. Marines as an analyst and concept developer, two senior political appointments at the Department of Navy and DOD, and service on two Congressional commissions.  He was selected and confirmed to the Senior Executive Service in 2009.  During 2017, Dr. Hoffman was the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and worked on the National Defense Strategy.  

His research portfolio at INSS includes national and defense strategy, joint warfighting theory and concepts, future warfare, and military innovation. He also serves on the Board of Advisors at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, as well as a Visiting Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and on the editorial board of its journal.  He is a contributing editor at War on the Rocks.

Dr. Hoffman is an award winning author and published over 200 articles and reviews in the Orbis, Joint Force Quarterly, RUSI Journal, Journal for Strategic Studies, Marine Corps Gazette, Parameters, War on the Rocks, and the Naval Institute Proceedings.  He has authored/edited several books and numerous book chapters.  His new book, Mars Adapting: Military Change During War, was published in 2021 by Naval Institute Press.

His decorations include the Marine Corps Civilian Service Commendation Medal, a Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the Department of the Navy, and the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from OSD.

Dr. Hoffman graduated from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.  He holds Master’s degrees from George Mason University in (M.Ed.) and the U.S. Naval War College (M.A. in National Security Studies).  He earned his Ph.D. in War Studies from King’s College, London.  He is a member of FPRI, IISS and RUSI.    

Selected Publications

  • "Dynamics of Great Power Competition," with Dr. Tom Lynch, in Thomas F. Lynch Jr. ed, Strategic Assessment 2020, Washington DC: NDU Press 2020.
  • "Competing Strategies for China," in Lynch, Strategic Assessment 2020.  
  • "The U.S. National Security System," in Paul O'Neill, ed., Orchestrating National Security, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2021 (forthcoming).
  • “Defeat Mechanisms in Modern Warfare,” Parameters 2022 (forthcoming)
  •  “Disruptive Learning and Operation Barney,” Joint Force Quarterly, October, 2021 (forthcoming)
  • “Post Covid National Security: Post Pandemic Defense Scenarios,” Orbis, Winter 2020.
  • “The Missing Element in Crafting National Strategy: A Theory of Success,” Joint Force Quarterly, 97, 2020.
  • “Marine Corps Force Design Principles,” Proceedings, Nov. 2020.
  • “Distilling the Essence of Strategy,” Texas National Security Review, Summer, 2020
  • “Britain Wins First Global War,” Naval History, April 2019.
  • “Amphibious Assault will Remain a Corps Competency,” Naval Institute Proceedings, April 2019.
  • “The Future is Plural: Exploring the Future with Scenarios,” Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 88, 2018.
  • “On Anticipating Surprise,” War on the Rocks, March 8, 2018.
  • “The Changing Nature of War in the 7th Military Revolution?,” Parameters, Spring 2018.
  • “Complex Conflicts, Gray Zone and Hybrid Conflict.” PRISM, Fall 2018.
  • “Squaring the Clausewitzian Trinity, AI and the Second Machine Age,” Orbis, Winter, 2018.
  • “The Case for Strategic Discipline,” War on the Rocks, Jan. 10, 2017.
  • “Leadership Case Study in Personal Growth, 21st Century Burke,” Naval Institute Proceedings, May 2017.
  • “Avoiding Inertia: National Security Council Reforms,” Orbis, Spring 2016
  • “Exploiting Organizational Learning Capacity,” Naval Institute Proceedings, May 2016. 
  • “Strategic Reassessment and Adaptation in Afghanistan,” Naval War College Review, Summer 2016.
  • “Advice to the New President: Shaping and Sizing the Military,” Orbis, Winter 2016.