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The Pentagon May Retire "Yoda," Its 92-Year-Old Futurist 254

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Of all the weapons the Pentagon relies on to defend the United States, one of the strangest and most secretive is Andrew Marshall, a 92-year-old man who's spent the last 40 years staring into the future trying to predict the next big threat to America. Known fondly as "Yoda" to his many fans in Washington, Marshall heads up the Office of Net Assessment—the Defense Department's think tank tasked with taking a long view, out-of-the-box approach to defense strategy. In his role as the Pentagon's visionary sage, Marshall is credited with predicting the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China's global prominence, the role of autonomous weapons and robots in warfare, and even helping end the Cold War. Now, facing budget cuts, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is considering reorganizing or possibly even shuttering the futurist think tank, Defense News recently reported."
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The Pentagon May Retire "Yoda," Its 92-Year-Old Futurist

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  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @01:42PM (#45271253) Journal
    He's been trying to predict the future for the last 40 years. Unless everything he writes gets stamped 'above top secret: incinerator's eyes only' surely we have enough material to evaluate his efficacy by now?

    How did it go?
  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @02:02PM (#45271503)

    He came up with the concept of Air-Sea Battle, which is a new method to coordinate the Air Force and the Navy in a future maritime war.

    Likely with China, as he predicted their rise to challenge US dominance back in the 80's when they were still weak.

    He predicted in the 70's that the Soviet Union's economy was in terrible shape despite them seeming robust and strong at the time.

    He predicted the need for precision weapons in the 60's, back when carpet bombing in Vietnam was still the norm.

    In 2003 during an interview he discussed the use of predator drones moving from surveillance to a strike platform, which really began in earnest in 2009-10.

    Not a bad track record.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @02:22PM (#45271707)

    In actuality, the predictions attributed to him were widely predicted by many people
    and found in Science Fiction long before his predictions. Even Popular Science
    back issues tend to look prescient with hind signt.

    Anyone who reads slashdot can predict global trends and be right some of the time.
    I'd be more interested in some of the predictions which never came about.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @02:45PM (#45271957)

    Not that impressive.

    Air-Sea had been a Navy concept since before world war 2. They believed it so much they built carriers, and coordinated land based planes with carrier based planes very effectively, even when the land based planes belonged to the army. Read about Midway.

    China was not weak back in the 80s. China was not weak in the 60s. They were an economic powerhouse even then.
      Douglas MacArther warned Never fight a land war in Asia".

    Everyone but weapons system planners knew that the Soviet Union was going down as early as the 70s, because economists had predicted it even earlier, just by looking at empty shelves in soviet super markets and the drastic cut back in Soviet aid to its over-extended empire. They hung Castro out to dry, in the late 60s.

    The need for precision weapons was noted in WW2. Some were even developed and uses back then. Dam buster bombs. The AGM-62 Walleye TV Guided bomb was in use in the 60s, conceived in 1958, and developed by the Navy, it was used in Viet Nam.. Carpet bombing works in Jungles, precision doesn't.

    In short, he seems to have convinced people to use what was already available rather than sticking with old school methods.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ransak ( 548582 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @02:51PM (#45272021) Homepage Journal
    In all fairness, he was busy being one of the men who stared at goats. [imdb.com] That book/movie was closer to fact than fiction in many, many areas.
  • by niftydude ( 1745144 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:31PM (#45274107)

    It's a ship. It ships itself.

    Here is a photo of a ship shipping ships [imgur.com].

Trap full -- please empty.