Erik Edstrom is an author and former captain in the U.S. Army.

He graduated from West Point in 2007, then deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as an infantry platoon leader. Erik spent the remainder of his service as the Presidential Escort Platoon Leader during the Obama administration.

He is a graduate of U.S. Army Ranger School, recipient of the Rippetoe Trophy during The Best Ranger Competition, was selected for the U.S. Special Forces (SFAS). After the military, Erik went on to earn both an MBA and a Master of Science, studying climate change, from Oxford University.

After graduate school, Erik moved to Australia for five years, where he worked as a management consultant for both Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and McKinsey & Company. His most recent book is Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of our Longest War (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Areas of Expertise

  • Afghanistan War
  • American military culture
  • Civil-military relations
  • Climate change: Defense implications and Pentagon policy

Recent News

  • How American Politics Got Troops Stuck—and Killed—in Afghanistan
    For retired combat officer Erik Edstrom, it took less than two months to realize that America’s war in Afghanistan was a complete disaster.
  • Erik Edstrom on BBC: Putting America’s Veterans First
    America has sent 2.77 million service members to war since 9/11. When they come home, are they getting the support they need?  Former U.S. Army infantry officer Erik Edstrom joins the BBC’s When Kathy Met Carlos to discuss the toll that combat takes on soldiers, and the failings of veteran care in the United States.  “Upon returning home, you see that the cost of war is a long arc.”  Upon returning home, you see that the cost of war is a long arc.”  Erik Edstrom, retired U.S. Army infantry officer Listen here. 
  • Laich & Edstrom in USA TODAY: Enough with America’s ‘thank you for your service’ culture
    Dennis Laich and Erik Edstrom — What is the best way for Americans to honor and respect veterans’ sacrifices? There’s no single right answer, but there are plenty of wrong ones – including our “thank you for your service” culture.