In a fluid global security environment such as ours, assessing the costs, risks, and likely consequences of alternative national defense strategies is as hard as it is essential. The “Global War on Terror,” for example, has cost as much as $800 billion more than was first projected. Too often, strategies are chosen without disciplined analysis in response to external events and under pressures of time and politics. The authors show how, even in the face of uncertainty, the costs and other implications of any strategy can be assessed by examining the capabilities needed by U.S. combatant commands — the chief agents of strategy — to fulfill what the strategy expects of them. They then demonstrate how such “outside-in” strategy assessment can be integrated with “inside-out” analysis of how core national strengths can best be exploited in national defense.
Table of Contents
The Operating-Unit Perspective
Illustrating and Analyzing Strategy
Basing Strategy on Core Strengths
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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