Thomas E. Ricks

ASU Future of War Senior Fellow

Thomas Ricks is an ASU Future of War senior fellow at New America. He also is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, for which he writes the blog “The Best Defense,” which was named the best blog of the year by the American Society of Magazine Editors in 2010, as well as the best military blog by Military Reporters & Editors.

Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. Until the end of 1999 he had the same beat at the Wall Street Journal, where he was a reporter for 17 years. He reported on U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was part of a Wall Street Journal team that won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2000 for a series of articles on how the U.S. military might change to meet the new demands of the 21st century. The series is posted at:

Ricks also was part of a Washington Post team that won the 2002 Pulitzer prize for reporting about the beginning of the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism. Those articles are posted at:

He is the author of Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003-05, which was a number one New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second book on that war, The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-08, was published in 2009. He also wrote Making the Corps, which won the Washington Monthly's "Political Book of the Year" award. His first novel, A Soldier's Duty, about the U.S. military intervening in Afghanistan, was published by Random House in June 2001--some four months before the U.S. actually did intervene there. He also has written on defense matters for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications.

His most recent book is The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. He currently is writing a book about Churchill, Orwell and the 20th century. He currently is in the early stages of a book growing out of the Future of War project examining the military transitions that accompanied the industrial revolution, and the lessons and parallels they might hold for our current transition into the information age.

Born in Massachusetts in 1955, he grew up in New York and Afghanistan and graduated from Yale in 1977. He is married to Mary Catherine Ricks, author of Escape on the Pearl, a history of one of the biggest slave escapes in American history. For recreation he enjoys sailing, sea kayaking, downhill skiing and reading military history.

All Work

War without end: The U.S. may still be fighting in Syria in 2024, 2034, 2044 . . .

National security reporter Thomas E. Ricks, a man not subject to confusion, can’t decide whether to call the latest hostilities a new instal

With Hezbollah and U.S. airstrikes in Syria, are we on the verge of a big Mideast war? Is this the end of Ottoman history?

The U.S. involvement in Syria is big news, but the Hezbollah strikes, conducted by armed drones, may be more historically significant.

When everyone else gets as much data as we do, how will we prevail in combat?

In the future everyone will be data-rich, my New America colleague Sascha Meinrath said over his lunch of baked salmon last week. So, he fig

The wars that come after wars (II): How one can start, or fuel, another one

A scary thought: It used to be that your neighbor's war ending was a good thing. But we are more often now also seeing the opposite.

What do these 24 big brains have in common?

Answer at bottom.

Why Am I Moving to the Left? | Politico

In my late 50s, at a time of life when most people are supposed to be drifting into a cautious conservatism, I am surprised to find myself m

The Generals

From the #1 bestselling author of Fiasco, an epic history of the decline of American military leadership from World War II to Iraq.