Skip to comments.Journal: DoD QDR–incomplete, incoherent, incredible…
Posted on 08/08/2010 1:40:36 PM PDT by Pride_of_the_Bluegrass
In simple terms, the collection of links below centered on the latest Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), come to the general conclusion that the Department of Defense (DoD) can no longer think, strategize, complete staff work, or acquire the right capabilities to do what DoD is supposed to do (which is also a topic lacking consensus).
(Excerpt) Read more at phibetaiota.net ...
Related piece, with bibliography, by McDougall in Orbis, Journal of World Affairs:
Excerpt: “So whatever buzz words become the shorthand for a new American strategy, I expect the most we can hope for is that our national security agencies and their consulting firms just post on their walls the business strategist Richard Rumelts list of ten strategic blunders and meditate on them every day. They are:
1. Failure to recognize or take seriously the fact that resources are scarce
2. Mistaking strategic goals for strategy
3. Failure to recognize or state the strategic problem
4. Choosing unattainable or poor strategic goals
5. Failure to define the challenge competitively
6. Making false presumptions about ones competence
7. Loss of focus due to too many stakeholders and bureaucratic processes to satisfy
8. Inaccurately determining ones areas of competitive advantage
9. Failure to realize that few people have the cognitive skills needed for strategy
10. Failure to understand the adversary.
I would add to this list one more:
11. Failure to understand ourselves.
In his famous Silent Majority speech President Richard Nixon assured listeners that North Vietnam could not defeat the United States, only Americans can do that. I suspect that were we to run our minds over the whole sweep of U.S. diplomatic and military history we could readily trace our nations disasters and wasteful detours in good part to our own nations foibles. They are legion. We are human. But chief among them is a tendency to be so dazzled by our own destiny and morality that we cannot see ourselves as others see us. So even as the American people must figure out how to frustrate our terrorist enemies and Great Power rivals in the era to come, so must we hearken to Edmund Burke. Among precautions against ambition, he warned, it may not be amiss to take one precaution against our own. I must fairly say, I dread our own power and own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded . [W]e may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing and hitherto unheard of power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin.
Grand strategy, whatever other ambitions it may serve, cannot aim at the abolition or obviation of grand strategy itself. That is why U.S. strategists, while devoting all their imagination to the prevention of specific dangers, cannot be about eliminating the possibility of deadly scenarios altogether. To cite a Samuel Huntington metaphor told me by Jim Kurth, the most a wise statesman can do is imagine his ship of state on an infinite sea, with no port behind and no destination ahead, his sole responsibility being to weather the storms certain to come, and keep the ship on an even keel so long as he has the bridge.”
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