Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Decision-making as a creative act

I was reading Army Lt. Gen. John Cushman’s very interesting privately published memoirs of his time at Fort Leavenworth during the mid-’70s, and was struck by an observation he quotes: “A decision is not a problem of simple arithmetic, but a creative act.” Would that more managers thought so. Irrelevant side fact: When Cushman was ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

I was reading Army Lt. Gen. John Cushman's very interesting privately published memoirs of his time at Fort Leavenworth during the mid-'70s, and was struck by an observation he quotes: "A decision is not a problem of simple arithmetic, but a creative act." Would that more managers thought so.

Irrelevant side fact: When Cushman was a toddler in China in the 1920s, he knew George Marshall, then posted there as the executive officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment.

I was reading Army Lt. Gen. John Cushman’s very interesting privately published memoirs of his time at Fort Leavenworth during the mid-’70s, and was struck by an observation he quotes: “A decision is not a problem of simple arithmetic, but a creative act.” Would that more managers thought so.

Irrelevant side fact: When Cushman was a toddler in China in the 1920s, he knew George Marshall, then posted there as the executive officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment.

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

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.