Praise for “The Incalculable Element,” from James N. Mattis

September 25, 2023

Letter from James N. Mattis, 26th United States Secretary of Defense, to Jaymie Durnan, Co-founder and Chairman of the Andrew W. Marshall Foundation

Praise for “‘The Incalculable Element’: Ancient Innovations for Modern Security Problems,” by Emily A. Davis

“In a word, this is wonderful. It is an apt, appropriate use of applied history. In a tumultuous time when journalists seem to be the only voices trying to make sense of our situation, nearly all historians have been unable to give us guideposts or a compass to orient us to solutions. As W. Churchill put it, the more one can look into the past, the further one can look into the future….This paper rates study and application to our own thinking about what we face. While dismissing the reasons for the internal disarray, Hermocrates sought to understand them and then to show them why they must mature their thinking. Where in America is such informed leadership today?

This is an award-winning paper in the truest sense of the word. This demonstrates why we need historians who can apply history to our current situation. As SecDef I often got my best new ideas from old books/history.

This paper is nothing short of exciting in what it unlocks. Many, many thanks for what your team is bringing to the fore in this paper Ms. Davis has crafted. I’m inspired and humbled by her application of history. Hermocrates ranks with Aurelian guiding Rome out of the crisis of the third century AD or Choiseul’s thoughtful leadership under the Sun King. Kudos to your Marshall Foundation and Ms. Emily! Hooray to you all, Jaymie. Only you could orchestrate such thinking with the way you’ve crafted, a method that rewards and draws out innovative thinking.”