April 20, 2015 | Quote

Andy Marshall: I Had No Idea Who Yoda Was

Andy Marshall is a legendary figure in Washington defense circles. For 42 years until his retirement this January, he ran the Office of Net Assessment at the Pentagon, a sort of internal think tank for the Department of Defense. He has been variously described as the best strategic thinker in the U.S. government and the military’s “futurist-in-chief.” Now 93, his best-known nickname only becomes more fitting with the years: Yoda.

On Wednesday, Marshall made a rare public appearance at the a conference hosted by the think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he picked up the George P. Shultz Award for Distinguished Service. But in an interview with Samantha Ravich, a former Bush administration official, the man who has been all but sainted for his contributions to American defense thinking made a surprising admission: “I had no idea who Yoda was.”

Asked what he thought of the comparison, Marshall said he was “puzzled by it” and that he had only seen one or two of the Star Wars films. Ravich helpfully filled him in on the basis of that comparison: “Through the force, things you will see, other places, the future, the past.” 


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