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A debate will likely occur in 2009 about U.S. global national-security strategy. The authors describe and illustrate a methodology to help frame and evaluate resource-informed strategies. The core is an integrated portfolio-analysis approach that compares options by their anticipated effectiveness, risks, and resource implications — all three of which are multifaceted. The approach deals explicitly with both uncertainty and differences of strategic perspective. Three illustrative grand strategies are compared, which deal in different ways with the problems of our time — including terrorism and more classic long-term strategic considerations such as general deterrence and competition.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Operating-Unit Perspective

  • Chapter Three

    Characterizing Alternative Strategies in Terms of Implications for Operating Units (COCOMs)

  • Chapter Four

    Application to Some Illustrative Strategies

  • Chapter Five

    Integrated Portfolio Analysis of Illustrative Strategies

  • Chapter Six


  • Appendix A

    Responsibilities of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

  • Appendix B

    The Portfolio Analysis Tool

  • Appendix C

    A Tool for Customized Reporting

  • Appendix D

    Documentation of Cost Estimates

  • Appendix E

    Treatment of Risks

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Joint Staff. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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