Cover: A Strategic Planning Approach

A Strategic Planning Approach

Defining Alternative Counterterrorism Strategies as an Illustration

Published 2009

by Lynn E. Davis, Melanie W. Sisson


Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback50 pages $21.50

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.

This Occasional Paper results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated research.

This report is part of the RAND occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.