“Monday Musings” are designed to get quick, insightful thoughts based around three questions from those interested in strategy, from the most experienced and lauded, to our newest thinkers/writers.
1 — Who had the greatest impact on you intellectually (whether through writing, mentorship, etc.)?
I know it sounds corny, but grudgingly I would have to say my wife Maria. She has an innate and unique ability to observe and assess human interactions and develop them into either long-term relationships or exploit them to some advantage. She would have made a great spymaster. I owe much of my limited social abilities to her tutelage. If there is one thing many of our strategists and military professionals lack, it is this sort of social skill. It is intellectually easy for us to write or engage with others of like minds and experience in our politico-military echo chamber. Outside (and perhaps since we got married in 1998-inside) of that space, I owe my intellectual foundations to her.
2 — What book (fiction, history, or academic) do you think best explains strategy?
Here I would have to say not just a book but a mantra best explains strategy. I hope I don’t offend anyone here, but I truly believe that the Nicene Creed best explains how I see grand strategy (Note: I will not use the words themselves as millions may take offense on matters of faith). Today, living in a free country, we cannot appreciate the power of these simple words other than as a religious artifact or curiosity. I am not religious, but as a student of history, the result of a series of diplomatic and religious meetings culminating in a final forum in 325 CE, resulted in an elegant act of statecraft. Effectively not only a statement of unity in faith but a pledge of allegiance as Constantine himself was head of church and state. Though much of what was documented during and after has been lost, it is clear that for effectively another 200 years, the Empire enjoyed peace and prosperity. More importantly, it ensured solvency for the treasury in Constantinople, re-establishing the old imperial system of taxation through the church. Though practice of religion would continue to be hotly debated for millennia afterwards, reverberations of this structure (of religion and State) would reappear in Roman Catholic empires such as the Spanish and their presidio/mission system, the First Caliphate and even the British Empire (which many forget coupled protestant missionary zeal with practical statecraft).
3 — What do you want your legacy to be?
I would hope that my legacy would be largely accidental. Being dead would present little opportunity to appreciate anything I may leave behind. But for those coming after I would point to Goethe for support, saying: “there is nothing worth thinking but it has been thought before; we must only try to think it again.” Hopefully, those thoughts recycled will be the good ones, and that’s the most I can ask for in a legacy.
Bryan Rozman is a third-generation U.S. Army Officer with 23 years of service, beginning as an enlisted man. He has served in a variety of conventional and special operations assignments from team and interagency to multinational, and 3-star level headquarters. He currently is an Army strategist in the National Capital Region. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect those of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
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