CSAF Leadership Library: January 2022

“I’d rather have decent answers to the right question than great answers to irrelevant questions.”

– Andrew Marshall


The story of Andrew Marshall in The Last Warrior: Andrew Marshall and the Shaping of Modern American Defense Strategy is a profound account of a virtually unknown, yet brilliant strategic thinker who was enormously influential in shaping American military thought for nearly half a century. Today, Marshall’s hallmark methodology, the “Net Assessment,” remains an essential diagnostic framework for understanding strategic competition through the lenses of capabilities, challenges, and perceptions.

Last September, I wrote a Letter to Airmen emphasizing a culture of innovation in our Air Force. The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security is as much the story of Boyd’s innovative spirit as his groundbreaking ideas on warfare. Alongside a tenacity for out-maneuvering bureaucracy, Boyd was a maverick, and had innovation baked into his DNA. Who is the “Maverick” in your squadron?

Today, a new generation of strategic thinkers and mavericks defend our nation. Dr. Meghan Grace’s #GenZ podcast Gen Z and Leadership reveals insights into the values and behaviors of Generation Z so that leaders at all echelons, myself included, can better relate to what defines and motivates our youngest cohort of professional Airmen.

The idea of “why” is a timeless concept that motivates across generational gaps. The critically acclaimed Netflix docuseries Five Came Back is a mesmerizing examination of our nation’s “why” before and during World War II through the lens of five prominent Hollywood directors. Their stories will leave you with a renewed sense of awe for the Greatest Generation.

I hope you will spend time to reflect upon these ideas and share your thoughts with your fellow Airmen.


Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

General, U.S. Air Force

Chief of Staff

Editor’s note: The CSAF Leadership Library is a fluid set of media selected by Gen. Brown that evolves as novel ideas are published, recorded, and debated. New entries will be added periodically throughout the year.