Jeff Schloesser, Retired Army Major General, Commanded the 101st Airborne Division & NATO’s Regional Command East in Afghanistan

Marathon War: Leadership in Combat in Afghanistan
 PUBLIUS SPECIAL GUEST: Major General Jeffrey Schloesser (US Army Ret) author of Marathon War: Leadership in Combat in Afghanistan.
From Major General Jeffrey Schloesser—former Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division and Regional Command-East—comes a revealing memoir of leadership in the chaos and fog of the Afghanistan War.

War is the most brutal of human endeavors, and I have experienced enough war to know to take cover when politicians and poets and armchair warriors speak extravagantly of patriotism and national honor.

Join Major General Schloesser in the daily grind of warfare fought in the most forbidding of terrain, with sometimes uncertain or untested allies, Afghan corruption and Pakistani bet hedging, and the mounting casualties of war which erode and bring into question Schloesser’s most profoundly held convictions and beliefs. Among several battles, Schloesser takes readers deep into the Battle of Wanat, where nine U.S. soldiers were killed in a fierce, up-close fight to prevent a new operating base from being overrun. This encounter required Schloesser to make tactical decisions that had dramatic strategic impact, and led him to doubts: Can this war even be won? If so, what will it take?

This book is a rare insight and reflection into the thoughts of critical national decision-makers including President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, then Senator Barack Obama, and numerous foreign leaders including Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Key military leaders—including then Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, then Central Command Commanding General David Petraeus, then Lieutenant General and future Chairman Martin Dempsey, and International Security Force Commander General David McKiernan—all play roles in the book, among many others, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville. Analyzing their leadership in the chaos of war Schloesser ultimately concludes that successful leadership in combat is best based on competence, courage, and character.
PLUS BOOK: Marathon War: Leadership in Combat in Afghanistan
BIO: Jeff Schloesser is a retired Army Major General who commanded the 101st Airborne Division for thirty-three months, including fifteen months in combat in Afghanistan. In his thirty-four year Army career he served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania, Kuwait, Haiti, Jordan, Korea, and twice in Germany. 

He was an assistant division commander in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq 2003-04, the first Global War on Terrorism Planning Director in the Pentagon after 9/11, and the first Deputy Director at the National Counterterrorism Center for Strategic Operational Planning.

An aviator, Jeff commanded two battalions of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and a brigade task force in Albania and Kosovo.

He resides with his wife Patty in Park City, Utah, and northern Virginia. He has completed thirty-eight marathons.
“A deeply personal, powerfully insightful, and sometimes disturbingly candid account of command in combat by one of his generation’s most thoughtful warrior-leaders. Jeff Schloesser captures the frustrating complexity of Afghanistan and the challenge of fighting America’s longest war brilliantly. A must read for those who want to understand leadership in the toughest of environments.” — Stanley A. McChrystal, U.S. Army, GEN (Ret.), Commander of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan

“Major General Jeff Schloesser has written a gripping account of his fifteen months commanding the 101st Airborne Division during the toughest days of America’s long war in Afghanistan. Schloesser eloquently and candidly writes about being a senior commander at war, making decisions that likely will result in soldiers wounded and killed while simultaneously dealing with the political challenges of dealing with higher headquarters and senior echelons of the American, Afghan and Pakistani governments. Marathon War is compelling and honest, telling the story of men and leaders in battle, the ‘filth and gore,’ the camaraderie, and the impact of soldiers’ absence on the families left behind—including his own. Jeff Schloesser was a great commander. This book makes clear why.”  — Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense 2006-2011

Marathon War transported me straight back to the year I spent learning to be a general officer from Major General Jeff Schloesser and his 101st Airborne team in Afghanistan. Jeff artfully recounts the story of people, places, and events to explore the challenges, complications, and responsibilities of leading counter insurgency operations on the other side of the world. You’ll leave with a better understanding of both the choices and decisions that shaped our longest war and the human toll it took on the extraordinary men and women who fought it…and are still processing it.”  — General Mike Holmes, USAF (ret.)

“If you truly want to understand the nature of wartime leadership; the heartache, the elation, the fear, the sense of frustration and the great pride of leading America’s men and women in combat, then you must read Jeff Schloesser’s Marathon War. No one tells the story better.”  — Admiral Bill McRaven, Former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command