Gian Gentile

Photo of Gian Gentile
Senior Historian
Washington Office


Ph.D. in history, Stanford University


Gian Gentile is 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. Before he joined RAND, 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. Just before joining 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 Office 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 recently awarded the Bronze and Silver Medals for excellence in research and writing. He is presently leading a RAND research team that is writing a four volume history of American military policy from the Constitution to the present.


  • 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