Thoughts on Andrew Marshall’s Impact
It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since we celebrated what would have been Andy Marshall’s 100th birthday. Today, as I think about Andy and the impact he had – and continues to have – on so many of us, I am reminded of a few things I’d like to share.
First, I remember what I learned from Andy about why we do what we do. Something he shared with the people he supported, and those who supported him, was a love of the United States, and what the United States could be. His contributions to national security were deep and vast, but not made through the number of op-eds he wrote (zero) or think tank panels on which he was featured (not many). While public amplification of one’s ideas is certainly commendable, it was Andy’s authentic nature, incisive thinking, and commitment to sharing unconventional ideas when they were important that made him invaluable to our country. Because of this, the Foundation also prioritizes potential over popularity, thinking over volume, and courage over caution.
Second, I remember that people are the products of their time, but good people – curious people – can break through their mental models, cultivate new ones, and support people different from themselves. There’s no doubt that growing up in the Great Depression, as well as being educated and entering the workforce during World War II and the early years of the Cold War, influenced Andy and his thinking. But as we all know, his penchant for new knowledge and new ways of looking at the world were second to none. He welcomed into his life people with dissenting ideas and opinions, people both junior and more seasoned, those trained in a discipline and jacks and jills of all trades, academics and practitioners, analysts and creators, and ever so many more.
And third, let’s not forget Andy’s thirst for life. On this day, I recommend that you cook some French food, open a nice bottle of wine, read about something you haven’t learned before, and cultivate that new hobby you’ve been meaning to jump into. Andy’s eclectic interests fostered – and were vital to – his intellectual accomplishments. Our memories of Andy would be false without recognizing how exuberantly he lived outside of his office.
As always, we could not do our work without you, and there’s so much more we can do. Finding new voices like Andy found new voices, and fostering them in his spirit, relies on this strong community. It is my honor to serve this family and continue to build it for the future.
Co-founder and Chairman