Academic journal article Military Review

The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy

Academic journal article Military Review

The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy

Article excerpt

THE LAST WARRIOR: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy

Andrew F. Krepinevich and Barry D. Watts, Basic Books, New York, 2015, 336 pages

In the arena of national security policy, Andrew Marshall may be the "most influential man you have never heard of" Through most of the Cold War and up to his retirement in 2015, Marshall operated behind the scenes, first at the RAND Corporation and then in the little-known Office of Net Assessment (ONA), an organization buried deep in the recesses of the Pentagon. There, he advised a series of key leaders on how to manage the strategic competition with the Soviet Union and, more recently, China. Sometimes jokingly referred to as "Yoda," he mentored platoons of bright young officers and defense intellectuals in an office that eventually became known as "Saint Andrew's Prep."

In The Last Warrior, authors Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts trace Marshall's career in what they call an "intellectual history" rather than a standard biography. Their book describes Marshall's education as a young economist recruited to the newly created RAND Corporation in 1949. There, Marshall analyzed the problems of nuclear strategy with such well-known "wizards of Armageddon" as Bernard Brodie, Albert Wohlstetter, and Herman Kahn. With the maturation of his analytical skills, Henry Kissinger lured Marshall from California to Washington; by 1973, he became the head of the new ONA under Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger. In this role, Marshall's mission was to look over the horizon to anticipate emerging threats while seeking areas of opportunity where the United States might gain an advantage over its rivals. …

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