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.
More from CNAS
VideoWinning the Next War
Chinese and Russian capabilities to exploit vulnerabilities in America's current way of war have grown. Without major changes to how it fights its wars, does the United States...
By Robert O. Work & Chris Dougherty
PodcastWorking National Security on John McCain’s Presidential Campaign
Richard Fontaine spent years advising leading figures in American foreign policy, but working for the late Sen. John McCain was unlike anything he had experienced before. Now ...
By Richard Fontaine & Ilan Goldenberg
CommentaryInterservice rivalries: A force for good
It’s no secret that the military services fight hard to protect their shares of the defense budget. Just last week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday made his case...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
PodcastStories from the Backchannel: Season Two Trailer
Now more than ever, Americans are interested in the people working behind the scenes on consequential national security decisions. In Season Two of Stories from the Backchanne...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Susanna V. Blume, Kayla M. Williams, Price B. Floyd, Kurt Campbell & Kara Frederick