A Strategic Planning Approach

Defining Alternative Counterterrorism Strategies as an Illustration

by Lynn E. Davis, Melanie W. Sisson

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While the United States government has historically undertaken strategic reviews and produced numerous strategy documents, these have provided only very general directions for U.S. policymakers. This paper defines an approach to strategic planning and illustrates its application using the example of the critical national security topic of counterterrorism. The strategic planning approach involves four steps: (1) defining and operationalizing a strategic goal; (2) defining the full range of different “means,” or policy tools, making them as specific and distinct as possible; (3) defining alternative strategies to achieve the strategic goal, each comprised of a set of prioritized means; and (4) facilitating the choice of a strategy by policymakers. In the example of counterterrorism, these strategies are defined based on different assessments of the primary requirement for al Qaeda being able successfully to attack the U.S. homeland. Choosing one of these strategies could increase the effectiveness of U.S government policies, make it possible to better allocate limited government resources, and provide a compelling foundation for seeking public and congressional support for particular programs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Defining an Approach to Strategic Planning

  • Chapter Three

    Implementing Our Strategic Planning Approach: Defining Alternative Counterterrorism Strategies

  • Chapter Four

    Implementing the Strategic Planning Approach Within the U.S. Government

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