#Monday Musings: John M. Collins

"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 dropped out of high school twice and college once before my first wife, formerly a Marine Corps buck sergeant, insisted I acquire a college degree. I never could have become professional in any regard without heeding her wise advice. Three college professors encouraged me to major in geography, which became my professional bedrock after I acquired BA and MA degrees. National War College Commandant, Lieutenant General John E. Kelly, made me his Director of Military Strategy Studies in 1968. His challenge steered the rest of my professional life.

2  — What book (fiction, history, or academic) do you think best explains strategy?

No one book best explains strategy. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Clausewitz’s On War remain perennial favorites, but I recommend many other treatises, because their different perspectives enable readers to judge which contentions make the most common sense in any particular context.

3  — What do you want your legacy to be?

The back cover of my memoirs best describes the way I most want to be remembered:

I, John M. Collins,
do solemnly swear that I will support and defend
the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I take this obligation freely,
without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;
and that I will well and faithfully discharge
whatever national security duties that I perform.
So help me God.

Colonel John M. Collins, USA (Retired) completed 30 years of Federal service with the U.S. Army (1942-1972), 24 more as Senior Specialist in National Defense with the Congressional Research Service (1972-1995), then conceived, recruited, and steered the Warlord Loop for its first 14 years (1998-2012). He remains as Warlord Emeritus. The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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