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TRADOC Pamphlet quotes General Jajko on strategic surprise

General Walter Jajko The late Brigadier General Walter Jajko, a longtime IWP professor, was recently quoted in the United States Army’s Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet (TRADOC) (p. 40), which is an official military publication that seeks to inform and guide U.S. soldiers and civilians on strategic operating policies and procedures. The pamphlet, titled “The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World,” analyzes current military demands and operations while providing insight into the future of U.S. Army strategic functions.

A section of the pamphlet which discussed how strategic surprise might harm the Army’s operational goals quoted an article by General Jajko on this concept, in which he states that strategic surprise is an “unpredicted development that has a decisive, transformative, and sometimes revolutionary outcome. The nature of strategic surprise is such that it confounds and negates strategy and purpose, not just objectives, but ultimately policy, thereby making irrelevant and futile any follow-on effort.”  General Jajko’s article explains how the notion of strategic deception and surprise presents serious problems for the U.S. military and intelligence institutions.  

The inclusion of the concept of strategic surprise in this latest U.S. Army TRADOC Pamphlet represents an increasing preparedness for strategic surprise in the Army.  

In addition, in its October issue, the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine quoted this same article by General Jajko.  Entitled “Caught off Guard,” the article discusses “strategic surprise” and the importance of going beyond classic strategic/operational planning in order not to be caught off guard.  The article drew from a piece by General Jajko on this topic, noting that: “Historically surprise is perspective-driven.  Meaning we can develop biases, sensitivities, or even blind spots over time from culture, experience, time, weakness, and our needs.” For the full article, please visit this link.