Brandon Friedman

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Brandon Friedman
Brandon Friedman HUD.jpg
Brandon Friedman
Born Shreveport, Louisiana
Occupation General Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Brandon Friedman is a writer and public servant. He is the author of the combat memoir The War I Always Wanted and has served since March 2014 in the Obama administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Friedman was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has an MPA in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas (2006) and a BA in History from Louisiana State University in Shreveport (2000).[2][3][4]


Friedman began his career as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. In March 2002, he led a rifle platoon into Afghanistan's Shah-e-Kot Valley to engage Taliban and al Qaeda fighters as part of Operation Anaconda—a battle later written about by journalist Sean Naylor in Not a Good Day to Die. A year later, Friedman commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq. He led troops during combat and counterinsurgency operations in Hillah, Baghdad, and Tal Afar. Friedman left active duty in 2004 after spending the latter portion of his Iraq tour as a rifle company executive officer. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq.[5][6]

From 2007 to 2009, Friedman was a Vice Chairman and spokesperson for, a political action committee (PAC) and non-profit 501(c)(4) which has spent over $15 million on more than 40 TV and radio ads in 30 states aimed at getting veterans elected to public office.[7]

In 2009, Friedman accepted a role as the first Director of Digital Media at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. In that position, his job was to both "revolutionize how the VA interacts with veterans on the Internet" and oversee VA's "burgeoning social media empire." In 2011, AOL Government noted that VA was "becoming a model for other agencies." Friedman's office and staff were the subject of cover story profiles in The Washington Post, The Federal Times, Stars and Stripes, and other publications.[8][9][10][11][12]

After leaving VA in 2012, Friedman joined the global public relations firm FleishmanHillard as a vice president.[13]

In March 2014, Friedman was appointed by the Obama administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.[14]


The War I Always Wanted by Brandon Friedman


The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq (Zenith Press, 2007) ISBN 0-7603-3150-2

The War I Always Wanted is a non-fiction memoir that details Friedman's experiences in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The book was released in July 2007 to positive reviews throughout the media and in the military community. While Publishers Weekly gave The War I Always Wanted only faint praise (calling the book "cynical but appealing"), subsequent reviewers were more effusive. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General (Ret.) Wesley Clark called the book "compelling and moving," going on to say that "among the many excellent war memoirs by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Brandon's stands out as the best." Historian Steven Pressfield, author of the New York Times bestselling novel Gates of Fire, called Friedman's work "outstanding non-fiction" and described it as "ris[ing] at numerous points to the level of literature."

Newspapers and journals reacted in similar fashion. The Baltimore Sun proclaimed, "You'll want to read parts aloud," while the Mobile Press-Register described The War I Always Wanted as being "rendered with more literary flair and sophistication than even the accounts by bigwigs," calling it "an elegant meditation on his loss of innocence." In the military community, the Military Times described Friedman's memoir as "vivid, frank, precise and dramatic," while Military Review, the journal of the United States Army Combined Arms Center, concluded that The War I Always Wanted was "tragically compelling" and that "[Friedman's] work is fresh, angry, cynical, and riveting."[15]

The War I Always Wanted was recognized in 2010 by the Military Times as one of "The Best Military Books of the Decade" and by Daily Kos as one of "The Best Books of the Decade."[16]


Friedman's writing has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.[17][18][19][20]

In the media[edit]

Friedman has been profiled by the Washington Post, Stars and Stripes, and Government Executive magazine and he has been quoted in the media over 100 times since 2007.[21][22][23][24]

On July 14, 2007, Friedman delivered the weekly national Democratic radio address.[25] According to the Associated Press, in the address, Friedman said, "The fact is, the Iraq war has kept us from devoting assets we need to fight terrorists worldwide," Friedman said. "We need an effective offensive strategy that takes the fight to our real enemies abroad. And the best way to do that is to get our troops out of the middle of this civil war in Iraq."[26]

In October 2007, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called Friedman a liar on his live national radio show and accused Friedman of "smearing" him and "trying to destroy his character."[27]


  1. ^ "Politico Playbook: Mike Allen's must-read briefing on what's driving the day in Washington". April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Local Soldier Writes About The War He Always Wanted - KTBS News". July 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Alumni Profiles - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas". September 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award, Louisiana State University in Shreveport". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ Wood, David (October 21, 2007). "A soldier's look at the real war in Afghanistan and Iraq - The Baltimore Sun". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ McMorris-Santoro, Evan (June 5, 2014). "Exclusive: HUD Official Apologizes For Tweets Critical Of Bergdahl's Unit - Buzzfeed". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Brandon Friedman - The Huffington Post". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  8. ^ Murphy, Bill (March 24, 2011). "VA enlists harsh critics as it belatedly embraces the Web". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ Terry, Ken (August 23, 2011). "FierceHealthIT: VA social media policy outlines interaction, patient privacy protection practices". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  10. ^ Hasson, Judi (August 17, 2011). "AOL Government: Veterans Affairs Department Emerges As Social Media Model In Government". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ Rein, Lisa (May 9, 2011). "The Washington Post: At VA, a blogger criticizes from the inside". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Reilly, Sean (May 14, 2011). "The Federal Times: VA's riskiest new recruit: its chief critic". Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  13. ^ "FleishmanHillard Announces New Military and Veterans Affairs Group". June 12, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Politico Playbook: Mike Allen's must-read briefing on what's driving the day in Washington". April 1, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Reviews of The War I Always Wanted". Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Best Military Books of the Decade – ''Military Times''". Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  17. ^ Friedman, Brandon. "Brandon Friedman: New York Times: At War". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  18. ^ Friedman, Brandon. "Brandon Friedman: TIME". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  19. ^ Friedman, Brandon (September 13, 2007). "Paying with their lives | Comment is free |". London: Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Brandon Friedman". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  21. ^ Erickson, Amanda (April 9, 2010). "Department of Veterans Affairs reaching out to vets via blogs and social media – ''Washington Post''". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  22. ^ Murphy, Bill (March 24, 2011). "VA enlists harsh critics as it belatedly embraces the Web". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  23. ^ Brewin, Bob (May 1, 2012). "All About Face Time". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Listing of links to media quotes by Brandon Friedman". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Bush says some Iraqi progress is reason for optimism – Associated Press". Boston Globe. July 15, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ "VoteVets Spokesman Admits Their Attack Is Not About What Rush Said". October 5, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2011. 

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