March 27, 2019

‘How Is Yoda?’: An Appreciation Of Andy Marshall

Last year while in Japan for a meeting with senior defense and military leaders, the question most often posed to me was, “How is Yoda?”

The questions were in reference to the nickname given to Andrew Marshall, arguably the foremost defense strategist of the past sixty years, who passed away this week at the age of 97. He is best known for his 42-year tenure as head of the Pentagon’s innocuously named Office of Net Assessment, the defense secretary’s private “think tank” that Marshall formed and led under every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama.

Marshall himself disliked being compared with the Star Wars character, but the name stuck, and for good reason. Like Yoda, Marshall was quiet and unassuming, and spoke sparingly. When he did, his observations could seem inscrutable to many who struggled in their efforts to plumb the depths of “net assessment,” a powerful strategic planning methodology Marshall developed and refined over the course of 60 years of public service.

Read the full article in Breaking Defense.

Image Credit: Lexey Swall for Foreign Policy.

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