Assumption-Based Planning for Army 21

by James A. Dewar, Morlie Levin

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This report describes a long-range planning methodology developed for Army 21 — an Army planning exercise designed to envision how the Army will fight between 15 and 30 years in the future — and demonstrates a partial implementation of the methodology by generating a set of alternative futures. In applying the methodology to the AirLand Battle-Future (ALB-F) concept, the authors found that the scenarios generated can be properly used to do two things: think about actions that should be taken in current planning to begin preparing for the eventuation of any of the scenarios, and identify "signposts"-events or trends that would suggest the world had taken an important turn toward one of the challenges to the ALB-F concept. The authors also found the methodology could be improved by developing a rudimentary theory of assumptions to guide their discovery and formulation. Finally, the authors found the ALB-F concept to be robust because it was difficult to come up with assumptions underlying it that might be violated; such a finding implies that doctrine writers will be challenged to develop the concept into a compelling guide to force structure development, training, etc.

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