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The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the…

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

by Andrew F. Krepinevich

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The Last Warrior may suffer from overly high expectations for those who’ve heard of the enigmatic Andrew Marshall. For one, it’s constrained by the plain fact that much of Marshall’s work product remains classified. Krepinevich and Watts are both Marshall proteges, so as one would expect, they treat their subject with a gentle touch. If they level any criticism, it’s that Marshall could have been more assertive at times, but it’s quickly excused as professional detachment. Another limitation of the book -- and the authors are upfront about it -- is that it was not intended to be a biography, but rather an intellectual history of the man. A book with a man’s name in the title that reveals only the highlights of his life and little of his personality leaves one a bit thirsty. The book is, rather, a post WWII history of net assessment in the United States presented through the lens of Andrew Marshall’s experience. As far as Marshall’s contributions to the national security discussion go, they are according to the authors (1) his insistence that the CIAs estimate of how much GNP was being consumed by military production in the USSR, (2) recognizing that the U.S. was in the midst of a revolution in military affairs, and (3) anticipating China’s rise. It seems, however, that Marshall’s greater contribution to national security is the analytical rigor he brought to the generation of forecasts, while trying to temper them with the realities of a non-linear environment inhabited by (at times) non-rational actors. He was a leader and a role model in that he always sought to ask a better question; no use in rushing for answers if you haven’t framed and formulated the right question. In sum, the book doesn’t offer a great deal of insight into either ONA or its father. In the end, we’re still left to assume that Marshall did great service to the nation, based mostly on his longevity in the inauspicious A-ring office he inhabited. ( )
  traumleben | Jan 20, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465030009, Hardcover)

Andrew Marshall is a defense industry legend. Director of the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s internal think tank, Marshall has served in the Department of Defense for nearly forty years. From his pathbreaking work at the RAND Corporation in the 1950s to his innovative strategies for dealing with nonstate actors and rising foreign powers at the dawn of the twenty-first century, Marshall has helped the United States meet the threats to its national security during the Cold War and beyond.

In The Last Warrior, Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts tell his story for the first time, using his exceptional career to trace the rise of the modern American defense establishment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:22 -0400)

Andrew Marshall is a Pentagon legend. For more than four decades he has served as Director of the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon's internal think tank, under twelve defense secretaries and eight administrations. Yet Marshall has been on the cutting edge of strategic thinking even longer than that. At the Rand Corporation during its golden age in the 1950s and early 1960s, Marshall helped formulate bedrock concepts of US nuclear strategy that endure to this day; later, at the Pentagon, he pioneered the development of "net assessment"-a new analytic framework for understanding the long-term military competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. Following the Cold War, Marshall successfully used net assessment to anticipate emerging disruptive shifts in military affairs, including the revolution in precision warfare and the rise of China as a major strategic rival of the United States. In The Last Warrior, Andrew Krepinevich and Barry Watts-both former members of Marshall's staff-trace Marshall's intellectual development from his upbringing in Detroit during the Great Depression to his decades in Washington as an influential behind-the-scenes advisor on American defense strategy. The result is a unique insider's perspective on the changes in US strategy from the dawn of the Cold War to the present day. Covering some of the most pivotal episodes of the last half century and peopled with some of the era's most influential figures, The Last Warrior tells Marshall's story for the first time, in the process providing an unparalleled history of the evolution of the American defense establishment.… (more)

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