- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
These kind of games of ranking influence are fun, and perhaps useful in that they make one consider how things work. Also, if someone is ranked much higher than you expect, it makes you consider for a moment whether you fully understand them.
That said, I find this list of the 100 most influential people in defense pretty flawed, and perhaps a bit naïve. I would have included at least one or two congressional staffers, and a couple of people from the staff of the National Security Council. And in an administration whose foreign policy is as politicized as Obama’s is, I would expect to see a couple of White House political advisors. Also, I don’t think I saw OMB on that list — OMB looms very large for defense secretaries.
At the Pentagon, I suspect the list overestimates Andy Marshall’s current influence, and I say that as the writer who wrote the first profile of him, about 17 years ago.
Also, journalists tend to be reluctant to credit the influence of other journalists, but I think David Ignatius should be on the list. Finally, where is Digital Washington — Google, Palantir, and so on? Finally, I think that using little groups to get in more names is kind of a copout, if the process is indeed intended to select the top 100.
So, I would give it a C-.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |