Office of Net Assessment

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The United States Department of Defense's Office of Net Assessment[1] (ONA) was created in 1973 by Richard Nixon to serve as the Pentagon's "internal think tank" that "looks 20 to 30 years into the military's future, often with the assistance of outside contractors, and produces reports on the results of its research".[2] The Director of Net Assessment is the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on net assessment.[clarification needed]

According to Defense Directive 5111.11, the Director shall develop and coordinate net assessments of the standing, trends, and future prospects of U.S. military capabilities and military potential in comparison with those of other countries or groups of countries in order to identify emerging or future threats or opportunities for the United States.[3][4] Paul Bracken explains that it is important to have a good grasp of net assessment because it is an "important part of the language spoken by leaders in the higher levels of DOD" and officers who lack familiarity "will be at a disadvantage in communicating with the civilian leadership".[5]

Andrew Marshall was named its first director, a position he continued to hold under succeeding administrations.[6] In October 2014, Marshall announced plans to retire in January 2015.[7] He was replaced by Jim Baker in May 2015.[8][9]

Office of Net Assessment Directors[edit]

Notable staff[edit]

Staff members have included:


  1. ^ "Net Assessment: United States". Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Director of Net Assessment". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  3. ^ Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), "Defense Directive 5111.11", December 23, 2009.
  4. ^ "Director of Net Assessment". 28 August 2010. Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  5. ^ Bracken, Paul (Spring 2006). "Net Assessment: A Practical Guide" (PDF). Parameters. 36: 90–100. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-08-30. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  6. ^ Whitlock, Craig (December 4, 2013). "Yoda still standing: Office of Pentagon futurist Andrew Marshall, 92, survives budget ax". Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2014-10-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "DoD Announces Appointment of James Baker as Director of the Office of". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Jim Baker, Director of the Office of Net Assessment". Retrieved 26 March 2019.