Assumption-Based Planning: A Planning Tool for Very Uncertain Times

by James A. Dewar, Carl H. Builder, William M. Hix, Morlie Levin


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This report documents a strategic planning methodology, Assumption-Based Planning, that RAND has developed over the last four years. It distills long-range planning work for the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Research Activity and the Manpower, Training, and Performance Program (now the Manpower and Training Program) of RAND's Arroyo Center and was funded as Arroyo Center exploratory research. This work was conducted to aid the U.S. Army with its long- and midrange planning. As argued, the method is particularly suited to planning in the military. It should also be of interest to anyone engaged in long-range or strategic planning. This report is intended to describe the fundamentals of Assumption-Based Planning and to provide numerous examples, although it is not a complete user's manual.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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