Foreign policy strategist Andrew Marshall had a career that spanned seven decades from the late 1940s. He was hailed by a former KGB officer as ‘the grey cardinal, the éminence grise’ of the US revolution of military affairs, and as ‘the great hero’ of Chinese officers tracking developments in US military technology, claiming they had translated every word he wrote. Dr Thomas G Mahnken joins Talking Strategy to discuss his work and life.
Andrew Marshall spent 25 years at the RAND Corporation, which developed methods of analysing the nature of the long-term competition between the US and the Soviet Union. He was recruited by Henry Kissinger to apply these approaches in the National Security Council, and later became the first Director of Net Assessment, a post he held for the next 43 years. His special approach to strategic thinking was interdisciplinary, questioning everything – including past successes – and encouraging out-of-the box thinking.
This week’s guest, Dr Thomas G Mahnken, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He is a Senior Research Professor at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and currently serves as a member of the congressionally mandated 2022 National Defense Strategy Commission and as a member of the Army Science Board.
The views or statements expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the podcast does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. Views and opinions expressed by RUSI employees are those of the employees and do not necessarily reflect the view of RUSI.
Marshall, Andrew W: ‘Long-Term Competition with the Soviets: A Framework for Strategic Analysis’, R-862-PR (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1972).
Adamsky, Dmitry (Dima): ‘The art of net assessment and uncovering foreign military innovations: Learning from Andrew W Marshall’s legacy’, Journal of Strategic Studies 43:5 (2020), pp. 611–644.
Mahnken, Thomas G (ed.): Net Assessment and Military Strategy: Retrospective and Prospective Essays (Cambria Press, 2020).
Rosen, Stephen Peter: ‘The impact of the office of net assessment on the American military in the matter of the revolution in military affairs’, Journal of Strategic Studies Vol. 33 No. 4 (2010), pp. 469–482.
Petrelli, Niccolò: ‘Analytical innovation in intelligence systems: the US national security establishment and the craft of ‘net assessment’, Intelligence and National Security Vol. 37 No. 1 (2022), pp. 1–18.
Marshall, Andrew W: Reflections on Net Assessment, eds. Jeffrey S McKitrick and Robert G Angevine (Andrew W Marshall Foundation and Institute for Defense Analyses, 2022).
Augier, Mie: ‘Thinking about war and peace: Andrew Marshall and the early development of the intellectual foundations for net assessment’, Comparative Strategy Vol. 32 (2013), pp. 1–17.
Senior Associate Fellow
Director, Military Sciences