Dr. Paul Edgar
Interim Executive Director, Clements Center for National Security
Dr. Paul Edgar is the Associate Director of the William P. Clements, Jr. Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a PhD in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of Texas and studies the historical origins of diplomacy, war, and strategy in pre-classical antiquity. He is also a philologist of several ancient languages. As a graduate student, he was a fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Engaged Scholar Program and also with the Clements Center. Prior to beginning work on his PhD, Dr. Edgar had been an Olmsted Foundation Scholar at Tel Aviv University where he studied for his master’s degree, focusing on early Israelite and Jewish literature from the Iron Age through the Crusades. Previously, Dr. Edgar earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Saint Mary’s University. His public writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Task & Purpose, and Capital Commentary. He is currently finishing his first book, an international diplomatic history of the Late Bronze Age.
Before entering academia, Dr. Edgar served more than 22 years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army, beginning as a platoon leader in Korea and then in the 75th Ranger Regiment. He commanded an airborne company in Vicenza, Italy, deploying in support of numerous contingency and training operations throughout Europe and North Africa. He first deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom I in the capacity of security advisor to Vice Admiral (Ret.) John Scott Redd in the Coalition Provisional Authority. Dr. Edgar returned to Iraq during the 2006-2007 surge, serving as an infantry battalion operations and executive officer, conducting counterinsurgency and combat operations in both Fallujah and South Babil Province. In 2008-2009, as an infantry brigade operations officer, he deployed to Afghanistan and conducted counterinsurgency operations in Paktika, Paktia, and Khost provinces.
After returning from Afghanistan, Dr. Edgar served as the executive assistant to the commander of the Kingdom of Jordan’s Special Operations Command. He then commanded 4th Battalion, 3rd Infantry in The Old Guard where he supported official ceremonies and provided security for the President of the United States and other senior civilian, military, and foreign officials. In that capacity, Dr. Edgar also supervised the Sentinel Platoon that guards the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. In his final assignment for the Army, Dr. Edgar was the political advisor for Israeli affairs to the United States Security Coordinator in Jerusalem. He liaised with senior Israeli civilian and military officials to ensure that the Government of Israel was aware of all U.S. efforts to train and equip the Palestinian Security Forces.
Dr. Edgar is fluent in Modern Israeli Hebrew and is trained to read and conduct research in Akkadian, Hittite, Middle Egyptian, Classical Hebrew, Ugaritic, Aramaic, Syriac, Sumerian, and German.