Gian Gentile

Photo of Gian Gentile
Associate Director, RAND Arroyo Center; Senior Historian
Washington Office


Ph.D. in history, Stanford University


Gian Gentile is the associate director of RAND Arroyo Center, the United States Army's sole federally funded research and development center for studies and analysis. Gentile is also a senior historian at the RAND Corporation. His research focuses on U.S. Army total force policy, military doctrine and organization, history, innovation and transformation, and strategy. Gentile completed 32 years of active service in the U.S. Army where he served in a variety of command and staff assignments in the United States, Korea, and Europe. Prior to his time at RAND, he was Director of the Military History Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Gentile did two combat tours in Iraq: In 2003 he was a Brigade Combat Team Executive Officer in the 4th Infantry Division in Tikrit, and in 2006 he commanded a cavalry squadron in the 4th Infantry Division in west Baghdad. His latest book, Wrong Turn: America's Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency, was released by The New Press in June 2013. He has also published widely in professional and scholarly journals, and in major national and international media. He has been a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. For his work at RAND on issues relating to the proper mix between the Active and Reserve Army Components, Gentile was awarded the Bronze and Silver Medals for excellence in research and writing.


  • A local woman salutes Ukrainian service members in the Chernihiv region, Ukraine, April 2, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Russia, Ukraine, and the Misuse of History

    History as playbook has been used to paint the Ukraine conflict as the start of a larger battle for Europe. But even if it is Putin's intent to knock over one domino of a European country after another, the Russian Army—unlike the Soviet Army of old—simply does not have the capacity to do that.

    Apr 6, 2022 Defense One

  • Iraqis watch as a truck burns on a roadside after an attack by suspected insurgents on a highway west of Baghdad February 15, 2006, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    The Realities of Civil War

    Civil war is not a pretty thing to see or be a part of. Those understandably engaged with the intense debate over whether or not the president should be impeached should not suggest that impeachment would result in civil war in our country. There are peaceful means available for us as Americans to follow in order to solve the problems at hand.

    Oct 9, 2019 The National Interest

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and Vietnam's President Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2019, photo by Luong Thai Linh/Reuters

    The Hidden Components of the North Korean Military Challenge

    In an era of global competition in which U.S. military resources are stretched thin, the United States should consider looking for opportunities to scale back potential overcommitment. The current inter-Korean dialogue presents such an opportunity.

    Mar 12, 2019 The National Interest

  • Soldiers participate in a clearance operation exercise in a mock town at the National Training Center, February 18, 2016

    The Tension Between What the Army Is and What It Does

    Cooperation and integration of the Army's three components is important, but what's most important is effectiveness in war and the key to that is trained, properly organized, and ready forces.

    Mar 3, 2016 The National Interest

  • Army National Guard Infantry Soldiers and Reserve Officer Corps Training cadets conduct an air assault mission using UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and foot patrols at Camp Grayling, Michigan

    Understanding the Abrams Doctrine: Myth Versus Reality

    As the NCFA finishes up its work on the future of the Army it is worthwhile to note that the strategic context in which the Army operates and is organized has changed over time, resulting in different calculations of costs and risks.

    Dec 9, 2015 War on the Rocks

  • Soldiers practice decontaminating themselves during training on Camp Casey, South Korea

    The U.S. Army Must Remain Prepared for Battle

    Converting the Army into a force suited only for homeland defense or humanitarian missions abroad, without the ability to fight sophisticated foes as part of a joint force, would result in an unprepared Army.

    Apr 18, 2014 The Washington Post