Montgomery McFate

Most Influential Person

Anthropologist, (1966 – ), California, USA

Why Is Montgomery McFate Influential?

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Areas of Specialization: Cultural Anthropology, Military Anthropology
Montgomery McFate is the Minerva Chair of Strategic Research at the U.S. Naval War College. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. from Yale University, and a JD from Harvard Law School.

After September 11, 2001, she determined that her mission in life was to try to infuse military decision making with the necessary background anthropological and cultural knowledge needed to make appropriate decisions. Over the course of her career, she has worked as a defense consultant for the Office of Naval Research, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Rand Corporation.

McFate’s path to becoming a famous anthropologist has not been without controversy, however. Some feel that a collaboration between anthropologists studying a people, and military officials wishing to take action on or with those people, represents a breach of trust. McFate contends that this need not be the case, and that ethical practice of anthropology could yield important insights that could potentially prevent unintended cultural clashes. Her work with the Human Terrain System, a military initiative employing psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and others to provide insights to inform military policy, has been condemned by the American Anthropological Association, which feels that it is an unethical use of their expertise.

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According to Wikipedia, Montgomery McFate is a cultural anthropologist, a defense and national security analyst, and former Science Advisor to the United States Army Human Terrain System program. As of 2011, she holds the Minerva Chair at the U.S. Naval War College.

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