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

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the as-he-himself-foresaw dept.

The Military 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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254 comments

Interesting (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271209)

He never saw it coming

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271787)

Obviously a time traveller -- doesn't know anything about the future past the point when he left it.

off from left field with a tin foil hat (4, Funny)

Balthrop (2786045) | about 6 months ago | (#45271227)

uh the title makes it sound like they are going to uh assassinate the nice old man

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (5, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | about 6 months ago | (#45271267)

Nope, then the title would read: The Pentagon May "Retire" Yoda, Its 92-Year-Old Futurist

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#45271689)

To be fair, when the pentagon retires a ship, it ends up at the bottom of the ocean.

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 months ago | (#45271917)

Usually not. Normally, it's broken up for scrap, although occassionally it's used for testing or target practice and then it does. The Pentagon is eco-aware. They recycle!

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#45272017)

Found out just the other day that I missed a golden opportunity. They were scrapping an old aircraft carrier. Sold it for $1!

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272133)

I woulda paid a buck fifty, thanks Obama.

Re:off from left field with a tin foil hat (3, Funny)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 6 months ago | (#45272099)

Usually not. Normally, it's broken up for scrap, although occassionally it's used for testing or target practice and then it does. The Pentagon is eco-aware. They recycle!

Soylent Green is Yoda!!!

philip k dick called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271231)

wants his plot back.. "Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?"

Re:philip k dick called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271661)

Hm, he always claimed the FBI or other government agents broke into his apartment and stole some manuscripts ...

Re:philip k dick called (1, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#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:philip k dick called (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 6 months ago | (#45271895)

Of course, that may be the SciFi spurring inventors.

Kid reads a book about flying cars. Dreams of becoming an engineer, works hard through school, gets to MIT or Stanford or some other high end engineering college, happens to take private pilot license as a hobby, and eventually is able to design a working flying car.

The Star War's influence (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#45271235)

So, now we know who Yoda is, as well as the Jedi Knights [wikipedia.org].

Re:The Star War's influence (1)

JWW (79176) | about 6 months ago | (#45271551)

It appears that he lied about his age by about a factor of 10â¦.

Re:The Star War's influence (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#45271633)

It depends, are they people years, dog years, dog star years, star wars years, or puppet years?

Re:The Star War's influence (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 6 months ago | (#45272207)

We used to have the Joint Deployable Intelligence Station (JDIS, pronounced jay-dis). The plural, of course, was Jedi.

Well... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#45271253)

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... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271407)

He must have at least predicted a couple of world cup winners, since even your average octopus can do that...

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271643)

Octopi can predict world cup game winners; not the winner of the world cup. Ask any German or Dutch person about that.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#45271449)

It's not that great. He's credited with foreseeing the demise of the soviet union in the blurb, I have no idea how accurate that is, but it's no great feat as the libertarian/austrian thinkers did as well, but that would still be somewhat to his credit if he escaped the beltway groupthink enough to anticipate that. Otherwise he seems mostly to be focused on selling a much larger and more expensive military as necessary to win the future war he fantasizes about with China. Considering the size of the relative expenditures currently, his pitch of drastic increases in spending required in order to hold off a distant, relatively low tech enemy seem alarmist at best.

But what do I know, I have only read a few articles on him. Research him yourself and post what you find out.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45271843)

I would be more curious as to WHEN he predicted this stuff. There is a BIG difference between sitting in 1970 and saying "The Soviet Union will collapse at some point in the future" and saying "The Soviet Union will collapse in the late 1980's or early 1990's." The former is pretty much useless information. The latter could be very useful.

I would also want to know how much he got wrong. If the signal of what little he got right was drowned out by the noise of much more stuff that he got wrong, his information would also basically be useless.

As I've never met a "futurist" yet whose predictions were worth much of a damn at the end of the day, I would be very skeptical of the usefulness of his office.

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271701)

Translation:

He did what any dimwit with a brain could do: he realized that importing everything from somewhere else (e.g. China) would significantly increase the economic power of that somewhere else, and with economic power comes available funding for military power.

He predicted what lots of others predicted about U.S.S.R.

He observed that snipers and assassins were around centuries before he was even born, and were useful, and would therefore probably continue to be useful.

He mentioned a plan for drones to be weaponized that took six years to complete. That's not a prediction.

Let's call him "Captain Obvious".

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272023)

Translation:

He did what any dimwit with a brain could do: he realized that importing everything from somewhere else (e.g. China) would significantly increase the economic power of that somewhere else, and with economic power comes available funding for military power.

This was obvious back in the 1980s when China was just beginning to crawl out of the dark ages of the cultural revolution? ... [citation needed]

He predicted what lots of others predicted about U.S.S.R.

Back in the 70s? ... [citation needed]

He observed that snipers and assassins were around centuries before he was even born, and were useful, and would therefore probably continue to be useful.

WTF does that have to do with predicting the fact that Laser and GPS guided PGMs would become a dominant weapons system when most others were howling about how expensive they were? And AFAIK snipers are still not the dominant form of infantry after all these centuries.

He mentioned a plan for drones to be weaponized that took six years to complete.

How many others mentioned that in 2003? I happen to know for a fact that the weaponization of drones was done in great haste by a few people in the post 9/11 period leading up to the invasion of Afghanistan. It was not a cleverly thought out plan that took several years to carefully execute, it was hacked together by a handful of air force personnel and a civilian armorer. Very few people were predicting the explosion in drone operations we have seen in the last six to seven years back in 2003.

 

That's not a prediction.

Let's call him "Captain Obvious".

That's not criticism it's whining let's call you "Spoiled Brat Boy"

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272159)

They didn't say he was a fucking psychic. Why do people get so stupid over the idea of "futurists"? No one says he magically foresaw things that no one in the world could. Just that he was consistent enough for them to rely on.

Re:Well... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271745)

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.

Not a bad record all depends on the outcome you were looking for.

Here, let me give you an example. Our future government will be nothing more than a group of evil men controlled by corporations (lobbyists), whom at the drop of a hat will serve as judge, jury, and executioner for anyone or anything that is within the range of their drone army. This will all remain or become legal under some sort of anti-terrorism Act that is allegedly here to make you safer and secure your Rights, all while making you an unwilling participant within the massive Surveillance States of America.

Oh, wait, sorry. That's kind of already here. Today. Now. We're too blind and ignorant to see it.

George Orwell did some rather nice predictions too. Doesn't mean we are better off for it.

Re:Well... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271747)

Oh really, 5 correct 'predictions' within 40 years, out of which 2 are not predictions anyway is "not a bad track record"? If that's all he ever tried to predict you might have a point. On the other hand, if he did something else in the past 40 years and these are the only hits, then random choices between plausible alternatives should have yielded a better result.

Re:Well... (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 6 months ago | (#45271809)

I am surprised you don't mention predicting the Kennedy assassination. Ah wait that was 'psychic' Jeanne Dixon, who milked that cherry picked prediction for the next few decades. But seriously, there is little here to determine how specific these predictions were, or how many bad predictions there were. I could make millions of predictions, then wait five years and fish out the ones that happened to be correct and claim some great ability to foresee the future.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271863)

china is the japan of 100 years ago

USA and japan went to war over access to oil and other resources
USA and china might go to war over access to rare earth metals

wars have always been about access to resources

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#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:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271961)

He came up with the concept of Air-Sea Battle

Wow that guy was awesome [atariage.com]

With this guy's age, it would not surprise me if they named the Atari game after his work.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272191)

Not a bad track record.

That is quite impossible to say without knowing his hit/miss ratio.

I can present a 100% success rate in predicting all outbreaks of cancer in human beings within the next five years. Here it is: "Everyone will develop cancer within the next five years!" -- amazing, I found them all.

No problem (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271255)

We have the sage oracle B.H. Obama in office - he will take care of us. He's unaware of any problems facing us in the future.

Re:No problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271297)

Oh, I'm sure he's aware of future problems with a plague of moronic right-wing dingbats.

Re:No problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271337)

And wouldn't see the problem with silencing all of the dissenting voices.

Re:No problem (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271447)

The right wing dingbats are cool with it, after all when they win the next election they'll be using Obama's powers to silence liberals just like Obama used Bush's powers (enjoy your unstoppable unitary executive commander in chief)

Re: No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271953)

why was this nodded down? seems like a rather accurate assessment about how those who come into power rarely, if ever, take any action to reduce the powers they inherited, even if they criticized those powers before taking office.

Lost Footage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271269)

Hey, I saw that guy on that Star Wars footage they just found on that eBay laserdisc. He looked pretty old.

Did he not forsee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271273)

Did he not forsee his own potential demise?

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271277)

Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment.

Got things right (1)

18_Rabbit (663482) | about 6 months ago | (#45271291)

Sounds like one of the few places in the defense industry that's got things right lately.

Re:Got things right (2)

somersault (912633) | about 6 months ago | (#45271403)

The proposed move also has caught the attention of some in the think tank and consulting worlds. Dan Goure of the Lexington Institute, is as unimpressed with the idea as Forbes.

âoeThe decision to eliminate [Net Assessment] might make sense were it an expensive endeavor, employing a large staff that might be better deployed elsewhere,â he wrote.

The Net Assessment office is less than a dozen people, tiny when compared with the rest of the Pentagon sweeping bureaucracy, Goure noted.

âoeIts budget is a few million dollars annually, much of that devoted to outside studies and analyses, he wrote. âoeYou wouldnâ(TM)t save enough from this action buy even one tactical fighter. Furthermore, the loss of the intellectual energy NA provides at a critical time for the Pentagonâ(TM)s future could have negative effects far outweighing the utility of the few dollars that would be saved.â

Sounds ass backwards to me. I think the military need to do more thinking, and less invading.

Re:Got things right (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#45271483)

You just heard of his successful predictions. How many of his predictions didn't come true?

Re:Got things right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271487)

Sounds like one of the few places in the defense industry that's got things right lately.

Having someone like him or cutting him?

Regardless.

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.

He is focused on "hot and cold wars".

FTFA:

There's no telling what his vision is for the future of defense strategy given today’s climate of cybersecurity and surveillance.

More than likely as an old school ... old guy, he's stuck in the old ways of fighting. I seriously doubt he has a decent concept of what can be done in "cyber warfare" - even then that is already old school.

If I were in China's leadership let's say, and I wanted to really hurt the US, I wouldn't bomb or hack.

I'd dump all of my Treasury bonds on the market all at once, use my US currency to buy Euros, Pounds Sterling, Yen and various other currencies, and lastly, cut the prices for all home grown tech (like Lenovo computers) to the bone and crush US companies.

Economic warfare baby!

And in the long run, it'd be cheaper than a hot war because unlike a hot war, your "munitions" costs can be recovered with trading on the markets.

Re:Got things right (3, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 6 months ago | (#45271665)

Your 'economic warfare' is myopic. China doesn't want to hurt one of its most lucrative export markets, and Europe won't pick up any significant slack, especially since they don't have the same degree of combined consumerism and lax regulation. The US and China are very much codependent, and while each has to make a political show from time to time about how the other is the bogeyman, in the end they both want the status quo.

Re:Got things right (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#45272083)

You are mistaken if you think China has the capability to be rational. The Chinese will cheer going to war and gut out the economic consequences. They desire one thing above all else: humiliate others and place themselves back where they belong, as the center of the world. The average Chinese doesn't have that much to lose.

Tragically our best hope for peace is the Communist Party. They're the ones with something to lose.

Re:Got things right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272203)

You are mistaken if you think China has the capability to be rational. The Chinese will cheer going to war and gut out the economic consequences.

Who says it would be irrational to temporarily harm your economic prospects to further your geopolitical goals. What is irrational is people who think economics are the only basis for human action. In the long view, what's a little economic suffering in exchange for the ability to harm a major rival and perhaps push them out of your hemisphere? Perhaps in the long run it will be worth it, why couldn't the Yuan be the reserve currency of the world?

Re:Got things right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272219)

Your 'economic warfare' is myopic. China doesn't want to hurt one of its most lucrative export markets

Which is why he prefaced the hypothetical situation with:

If I were in China's leadership let's say, and I wanted to really hurt the US

Re:Got things right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271775)

And when the West stops buying manufactured goods from China because if they're willing to do that to the US there's nothing stoping them from doing it to anyone else, what exactly will be their "win condition" then?

Economic warfare doesn't really work, unless you can get an actual monopoly of something of value, and China does not have a monopoly on poor people who will take low paying factory jobs.

Ludwig von Mises Predicted Fall of USSR in 1921 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272015)

Ludwig von Mises predicted it way back in 1921!! [wikipedia.org]

fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271293)

I guess he failed to see this threat coming...

Save money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271315)

Why not? If he's ever needed again I'm sure someone will find him slumming it in a marsh or something.

Main Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271319)

"I foresee large cuts in defense spending as the world becomes a safer place. I also foresee a way to avoid the cuts, by making up a new enemy whose threat can be neither defined nor denied, allowing huge possibilities for new agencies and monies.

Yoda doesn't quite fit here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271323)

Yoda's goal was to defend against coercion. The US government's goal is to maintain and expand their power and revenue, and the way they do it is by initiating coercion, not defending against it.

What did he say about Iraq and Afghanistan? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#45271333)

I'm truly interested. He either called it and they ignored him, in which case he's not useful, or he didn't call it, in which case he's not useful.

I'm sure he costs less than a redundant engine for the F-35, but everybody who says that each of the thousands of useless programs don't need to be cut because they don't cost too much is ignoring the rest of those other thousands.

If he's as smart as the ethos contends, many think tanks would be glad to hire him on. I only hope I'm fortunate enough to be in such a position when I'm 92. Also cool that he was already 60 before he picked up his nickname - most career military are outta-there at that point.

Re:What did he say about Iraq and Afghanistan? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271539)

He either called it and they ignored him, in which case he's not useful

No. In that case he'd be useful, it's just that they didn't use him. If you go out without an umbrella and it rains, that doesn't mean the umbrella is useless and should be discarded, it means the umbrella is potentially useful and you should consider using it.

Re:What did he say about Iraq and Afghanistan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272075)

If he called it, it'd be more like standing out in the rain, freezing your ass off, with the umbrella collapsed and closely cradled in the nook of your arm.

Re:What did he say about Iraq and Afghanistan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271569)

You are assuming that saving money is a goal of the people who run the business of government. History shows the exact opposite: that spending is the goal. It doesn't matter to them where the money goes or whether it results in "success" or "failure". They define success by the size of their budget, not the outcome. The bigger the cash flow, the bigger the opportunity to leverage that cash flow for personal gain.

Re:What did he say about Iraq and Afghanistan? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45271629)

Thank God, I'm not the only one who recognizes how stupid a single-engine fighter is in this day and age.

Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271335)

Does our government have no bounds for incompetence and intellectual laziness? They believe a single man is the best at this stuff? Do they really buy into guru-ism? Or is he just their Captain obvious, which in U.S. governmental terms roughly translates to "the one person who doesn't assume wildly imaginative scenarios that involve a fairly tale planet that assumes world leaders follow some sort of good/evil paradigm where foreign leaders are akin to evil geniuses?"

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271395)

he is old enough to have lived stuff most people will barely read in a history text. it gives him some insight into the development of weapons over the last 75 some years and why they were developed

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271509)

Is it a think tank if it's only one person? Why don't you keep reading.

Stupid Move (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271345)

Ugh, this is so stupid. This is the only long view think tank in the Pentagon, the only one who looks at the entirety of a nation and tries to predict what will happen and more or less gets it correct. One of the big complaints about the military is they're "always fighting the last war"; this group was specifically designed to try to predict what a conflict 20 years from now will be and start preparing for it. Marshall needs to retire; he's damned old, but the group's purpose is still relevant.

Just one anachronism... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#45271359)

40 years ago was 1973, which was 4 years before Star Wars, and 7 years before Empire Strikes Back, which is where Yoda is first mentioned and appears.

Re:Just one anachronism... (5, Funny)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 6 months ago | (#45271773)

That's how stunningly accurate were his predictions. Nobody at the time could figure out why he choose that name, but a mere 7 years later...

Louis Riel (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 6 months ago | (#45271365)

If they get rid of what works the next thing you know the Pentagon will prioritize the capture of the rebel leader Louis Riel before the Saskatchewan Rebellion spreads to the central US.

More like Stink Tank (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271371)

I tooted

Predicting The Probable (0, Troll)

some old guy (674482) | about 6 months ago | (#45271377)

What an amazing visionary! Envisioning the implosion of a corrupt, bankrupt police state? Brilliant! Most populous country on Earth is in the ascent? Wizard! Robots becoming more useful? Astounding perception!

The average Mechanics Illustrated article is just about as precognitive.

Re:Predicting The Probable (4, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | about 6 months ago | (#45271441)

Envisioning the implosion of a corrupt, bankrupt police state? Brilliant! Most populous country on Earth is in the ascent? Wizard!

The difference between someoldguy and "Yoda" appears to be that someoldguy is really good at predicting the exact same things in hindsight.

Re:Predicting The Probable (0)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 6 months ago | (#45271765)

The prediction of China's rise was at least as old as Napoleon Bonaparte who is reputed to have said, "Let [China] sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world." Really any historian with a better than passing knowledge of East Asia would have prognosticated the same thing, it was simply that before the 20th century few people in the West bothered to educate themselves on Chinese matters further than the shape of it on a globe.

Re:Predicting The Probable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271495)

Well, not all corrupt, bankrupt police states implode, just look at the USA.

budget priorities (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271415)

We've shifted all the money over to non-war bullshit like praising the homosexual agenda, watering-down the combat arms with females, spending millions rehabbing non-deployables who should be kicked out, employing thousands of majors to work on power-points, doubling-down on suicide prevention classes every year, and covering every surface of every building with sex harassment posters... I'm surprised this dude has kept his job THIS long.

Re: budget priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272127)

if I had mod points I would mod you -1 "waste of resources required to keep someone alive"

Nobody ever listens, also predicted (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#45271421)

"I also predicted this due to ever-growing social spending leading to increasing cost-cutting pressures on everything else. I'd like to claim authorship of this repeatedly successful prediction method, but I cannot [wikipedia.org]."

Why Retire? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271429)

When 92 years old you reach, look as good, you will not.

Correction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271463)

He is 82 years old. Not 92.

Fucked up this government is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271473)

Stop building tanks and jets we must.

Only things 92 years old can see is death coming (1, Troll)

Nyder (754090) | about 6 months ago | (#45271481)

and apparently he's been senile for the last 15 years...

He might need to retire but... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#45271653)

The think tank should remain. Defense Department has to be ready for the next thing. Nations lose wars because they fight the next war the same way they fought the last one. A think tank like that might keep you ready.

Re:He might need to retire but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271845)

We have many think tanks that supply reports and predictions to the Pentagon and many other government agencies. The problem is these agencies do not always use what is recommended or predicted. If the recommendations don't jive with what the agency wants to do then an I-told-you-so moment comes along many years later, after the agency's leadership has long changed. I am sure Yoda was kept around because he was easy to work with and kind of an icon in his department. Nice to see there is a human side to the DOD.

SIGMA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271657)

Fortunately he's not the only one doing this stuff, although he might be the only one who was full time.

SIGMA [sigmaforum.org] is a non-profit group of science fiction writers (originally all with PhDs) who do futurism consulting from time to time to the US government and non-governmental organizations. Interesting group of folks, some of them are currently involved with the Century Starship project. Think of an American hard-sf writer and chances are they're a member.

Old geezer with funny nickname retires. (0)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 6 months ago | (#45271753)

FTFA: the Pentagon's Yoda has amassed a loyal following of supporters and protegesâ"sometimes called Jedi Knights. Not least is former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld,

Aw, c'mon already. He's just another Bush crony. If he was any damn good, we wouldn't be fighting an endless money-pit war on terror to the tune of some 3,000 deaths [wikipedia.org] or flying military drones all over our back yards. Is this his idea of 'future military threat?'

I bet his crowning glory among the given company has centered around how to strip tax dollars out of the budget and inject into privatized miltary for the past 40 years.

Future there isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271849)

For Pentagon, future there isn't. Retirement there is, and suffering. Like the sound of millions of voices from the future, suddenly silenced.

Every evil regime has such 'gurus' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45271861)

This is an age old tactic dating back to before the time of written language. The words of the 'oracle' justify the actions of the monsters that rule over the sheeple. But using an 'oracle' makes the actions of your masters seem 'pre-ordained' or 'following the instructions from god(s)' or 'a response to meta events in the current world'.

Your monsters maintain many such 'oracles' and also ensure these men and women have 'special' friends and 'needs' to allow their 'independent' advice/wisdom to be directed into whichever area suits the present needs of these monsters.

Here's a fact for you. At least two seemingly legitimate national lotteries have had the same winning numbers occur twice- obviously proof that the lottery is fixed (actually, all major lotteries are fixed, with computer control of the equipment allowing any given outcome). But WHY would the forces of a regime (one occurrence happened in Israel) allow the fact that the lottery is fixed become clear to every sheeple with decent mathematical skills, by having the same sequence of numbers picked twice? To give the prize to a firend of the regime, for instance, would never need such a nonsense.

The answer is simple, and depressing. The fixing of the draw was done to convince certain people that regime 'oracles' have actually, magical powers of prediction and control. It is IMPOSSIBLE (to all intents and purposes) for the same numbers to happen twice, so causing the 'impossible' is a great persuader.

The monsters that rule over you have legions of loyal lieutenants that rank in power, riches and influence way above you, but are NOT, and never will be part of the inner circle. These immediate servants of your ruling monsters are the ones that often need "Mission Impossible" style scams to convince them to become true believers in the first place. It is important that these people think they are serving very special 'winners', and the more mysticism and pseudo-science your masters can invoke, the better for their power-base.

It is interesting how the sheeple of the West will laugh at sheeple in places like Africa for their ongoing superstitious lifestyles, and yet Washington DC is full of mystics, spiritualists, fortune-tellers and the like, employed by most of the powerful people and families that operate there, including almost EVERY president in US history. The higher you go in society, the more this nonsense has power and influence. Most of those who are ABOVE you in society KNOW they are no different/better/smarter than you, so they seek 'answers' to explain why they have true power, and you don't. This elevated class of society thusly has a psychology that is easily manipulated by your true masters.

Value for money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272011)

These kinds of people are useful, even if they don't make specific predictions that often.
Besides, you could employ this guy for several years and it'd cost less than some missiles do.

ref: "the men who stare at goats" (2009) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272035)

So "the men who stare at goats" was a documentary?

Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45272177)

So money is tight, so instead of cancelling useless, super expensive programs like F-35 or stopping tank production (we have hundreds of functional, mothballed tanks, yet we keep making them so we can keep the factory open, despite the fact that tanks are drone fodder and totally useless).

So instead of trimming a hundred billion in waste, we get rid of a very low cost office whose job is to make sure we can anticipate the next threat?

FAIL

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