Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Strategy (III): an elite few, and you can tell when they’re young

  There is a lot interesting in the Krepinevich/Watts essay on the strategic incompetence of the U.S. government, and what to do about it. But what has surprised me most so far is their assertion that you can tell when people are relatively young whether they have the makings of strategists:  . . . [I]t ...

581246_090908_baby12.jpg
581246_090908_baby12.jpg

 

There is a lot interesting in the Krepinevich/Watts essay on the strategic incompetence of the U.S. government, and what to do about it. But what has surprised me most so far is their assertion that you can tell when people are relatively young whether they have the makings of strategists:

 . . . [I]t appears that by the time most individuals reach their early twenties, they either have developed the cognitive skills for strategy or they have not.




 

There is a lot interesting in the Krepinevich/Watts essay on the strategic incompetence of the U.S. government, and what to do about it. But what has surprised me most so far is their assertion that you can tell when people are relatively young whether they have the makings of strategists:

 . . . [I]t appears that by the time most individuals reach their early twenties, they either have developed the cognitive skills for strategy or they have not.

The majority of officers en route to becoming generals and admirals do not have those skills, they add. I’d agree with that, but would like to know about about how to identify the young strategic thinker.  

Flickr/PodKnox

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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