Will Thibeau

2023 Lincoln Fellow

What is your current position?

I serve as the director of the American Military Project at the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life.

What inspired you to choose this career path?

I wanted to inspire others to think about critical institutions of our country differently. I figured there was no better place to start than the military, and the relationship it bears to civil society.

What are you currently working on?

We are currently planning, writing, and compiling a report on the politicization of the military.

How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?

I initially read Michael Anton’s “Flight 93 Election” a few years after it was published. A yearning to switch careers from defense tech pushed me to reach out to Arthur Milikh and Annalyssa Lee on LinkedIn. Years later, those connections paid off with great friendships, the Lincoln Fellowship, and a role at the Center for the American Way of Life.

What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?

Walking to the beach with some of the guys in my Lincoln class.

There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals.  What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?

I like Ryan Williams’ recent characterization of Claremont as a “do tank.” The Fellowships are not instructional or theoretical exercises, but check points for a movement in desperate need of people with a bias for action to save America. This is fundamental to our value proposition, and will be what saves America.

Who would it be, why, and what would you discuss, if you could have a fireside chat with an American Founder, or any great thinker?

St. Alphonsus Ligouri has been one of the most influential writers on my life, in particular because of the exacting moral demands he places on a person. He needs to be more relevant.

What would the artifact be, if you could hold one piece of history from the early founding of our country and why?

Part of the Holy Mass kit from the first Catholic mass in America (Florida in the mid-16th Century)

With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence can you name three positive uses, especially when it comes to the military?

  1. Medical diagnostics and treatment recommendations
  2. Targeting analytics to avoid civilian casualties and minimize large-scale bombing in civilian areas
  3. Maintenance workflows

What qualities do you believe are needed to achieve great leadership in this century and why?

The best advice I ever received was to “do the things you say you will do.” Such a mark of integrity and commitment seems increasingly rare these days, and will mark any great leader in our life time.

What do the words, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness mean to you?

I find this phrase a bit ominous for the chaos of liberalism we experience in our culture today. To me, it would be more fitting for our Republic to be founded on individuals pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of holiness. Holiness is what can ground someone in virtue to prepare for the next life; I feel we’ve been led astray by the insistence one does what makes him happy.

What do you think has been the major contributor to the redefinition of our culture in the 21st century?

Smart phones have changed individual and collective lives in ways we may not appreciate before it’s too late.

What do you believe is the greatest military challenge facing the United States?

The greatest military challenge is the folly of liberal imperialism and the faulty demands such a foreign policy worldview is placing on military force structure and technology development. We need a military technologically ready and agile enough to respond to genuine threats to the homeland; not a relic of Cold War strategy ready to occupy Europe.

What books are you currently reading?

Politicizing the Bible by Scott Hahn

What brings you peace of mind at the end of a stressful day?

My wife and our four children, and our Catholic faith.

And just because …

Where do you see yourself and this country in ten years?

If God wills, at least four more kids, and a lot of neighbors with similar values and car sizes.