Antulio Echevarria grew up with an interest in the military. Reruns of the TV show “West Point” sparked his interest in attending the Academy, and a high school class trip solidified his intent. Entering West Point in 1977 with the Class of 1981, he took pride in military training during the summer and did well in Academics. He commissioned into the Armor branch and his first assignment was in Germany, where he learned a lot from his Soldiers and his Platoon Sergeant. His unit was receiving brand new M1 tanks, and he enjoyed training with those vehicles. After attending the Infantry Advanced Course, he commanded B Company, 4th Battalion, 68th Armor, a “cohort company,” at Ft. Carson, Colorado. After leaving command, he earned his PhD at Princeton University in preparation for teaching history at West Point beginning in 1991. He extended his tour in the History Department, and in the summer of 1995, he reported to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where he was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry, responsible for training Armor Officers. His next assignment was as a project officer in the “Army After Next” program, envisioning the future of the Army out to 2020. He then became a speechwriter for Army Chief of Staff General Dennis Reimer before becoming the Director of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Retiring from the Army in 2004, he became the Director of Research at the War College. Currently he is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Program on National Security, an adjunct at the Modern War Institute, and the senior editor for the War College Press.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his West Point and Army experiences, and his career after leaving the military. He describes attending the Military Academy in the late 70s, being in the second class to include women, the aftermath of the Class of 77 cheating scandal, and instructors in the post-Vietnam Army. He compares training with both the new M1 and the older M60A3. He discusses working as a professional historian and writing about Strategic Thinking, Military Theory, and Military History, and his goal of ensuring his works are useful for military practitioners. Finally, he reflects on his service, West Point, and having a daughter at the Academy.