Build Your Military Leadership Dream Team and We'll Guess How Old You Are

Zoe Samuel

Image: Thinkstock Images / Stockbyte / Getty Images

About This Quiz

"The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence, it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected," or so said Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general of Wu, who is credited as the author of "The Art of War." How a nation fights its wars is as much a product of that nation's culture as the art it produces, the music it plays and the form its politics take.

Even the laws governing war changed with time, adjusting to the expectations of civilizations. Whereas decimation and mass brutality were the rule in the Roman era, by the 20th century, such actions were deemed war crimes. Certainly, some generals were successful because their natural instincts fit within the constraints of their time, be those constrictions legal, technological or religious. Other generals pushed hard against the limits of their times, overcoming enemies without and within because of their rejection of cultural norms.

Culture today changes a lot faster than it once did, in part because technology changes the dynamics of war much more rapidly than it once did. Add to this a cultural landscape where under-represented views can come to the fore much more quickly, and you're faced with a world where the future of war is much less predictable. As a result of this rapid change, one's stomach for a certain kind of war changes with age. Take a journey through the great wars with us, build your ideal team of military leaders, and we will guess how old you are.

Who would you want in charge of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which, unlike the CIA, is not a civilian agency?

Who would you put in charge of the US's Missile Defense Agency?

Your forces are going to have to find the enemy hidden among the civilians in a heavily overgrown jungle country. Who would you have organize this?

If you had to staff the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which is a combat support element of military intelligence, who would you want in charge?

From which empire would you most rather draw your top ranks of soldiers?

If you were setting up a bureau of economic warfare, who would you want in charge of it?

If you were charged with picking the head for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, who would you want cracking the whip?

Who would you want in charge of something like STRATCOM, which controls much of the US's nuclear arsenal?

In a cold war, someone has to be in charge of your submarine fleet. Who would you put in charge?

Would you consider appointing a specialist to a leadership position in order to get around time in grade requirements?

You are in the midst of an air war in Europe. Who would you want organizing your sorties?

Which is more important to you in a military leader: experience with modern artillery or tactics born of simpler situations?

Who would you make your Commandant of the Marine Corps?

If your space program were militarized, who would you want to be in charge?

What patriotic nerd would you want running the National Security Agency (NSA), whose mission is electronic intelligence gathering but not human intelligence gathering?

If you, the commander in chief, were overthrown in a coup, who would you rather do it?

If you were running a covert ops team, who would you want in charge, in the field?

On the resume of a potential military leader, the defeat of which of these empires would impress you the most?

What key background requirement would you have for anyone in charge of a brigade or division?

You're fighting a sea war in the South Pacific. Who would you want in charge of the fleet?

Who would you want as a middleman for the US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, making sure US naval forces are prepared to go anywhere and do anything?

How important is it that at least some of your Joint Chiefs of Staff come from the modern era?

Who would you put in charge of the Office of Naval Operations, the effective head of the Navy?

Who would you want commanding your tanks in a battle in The Empty Quarter?

Who would you pick to run your clandestine service when much of the world is at war, but you aren't?

To which sort of top position would you appoint a non-traditional figure like a mathematician with no military experience, if you were told you had to?

At what point would you set the age cutoff for combat leadership?

Which of these cultures would you rather have unit leaders come from?

You are invading Russia. Who would you put at the head of your army?

Which branch of your military will you prioritize if you have a staffing shortage?

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