Dr. Mackubin Owens, IWP Dean of Academic Affairs, discusses the current state of strategy-making in the United States and what elements are required for a successful strategy in his essay “On Strategy and Strategic Planning: Repairing America’s Strategic ‘Black Hole’” published by The Heritage Foundation in the 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strategy.
Dr. Owens explains how strategy is a complex phenomenon that has recently been reduced to a bureaucratic and mechanical process. He cites examples such as the Quadrennial Defense Review and the National Security Strategy as documents of this strategy reduction.
In describing the complexities of strategy, Dr. Owens defines it as the interaction among ends, means, and the security environment. He explains how strategy functions as a dialogue between policy and the nature of power. He also emphasizes the need for a flexible strategy that policymakers are able to adapt according to sudden changes. Ultimately, to correct strategy from the simplistic process it has become, Dr. Owens calls for “a return to the long-range strategic planning process that it implemented during the Cold War.”