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Friday, September 4, 2009

BBC Fails its Strategy Test—On Basics

Early in the week I was driving to work and listening to the 0900 NPR BBC News Report and the on-air news reader was talking to a reporter who apparently was in Afghanistan. The reporter said that this week General Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, was submitting his strategy to his civilian masters and in a couple of weeks he would submit his resource requirements.

I am hoping, and expecting, that General McChrystal worked those two things together.  The standard War College characterization of strategy is matching "Ends, Ways and Means").  I learned this characterization in a Seminar Room from Army Colonel Arthur Lykke, who wrote the book when I was at the Army War College.  The quick rundown on the concept can be found here. Note the acknowledgement of Art Lykke in the paper.

Frankly, my personal characterization drifts a little from Art Lykke's three legged school. I would say that strategy is
matching objectives, threats and opportunities in a resource constrained environment.
But, "ends, ways and means" is a catchy phrase and covers the subject very well.

No matter how you slice it, understanding your resources is key to developing your strategy.

But, the BBC report separates the two.  I tried to find a copy of the audio report, but didn't. However, I found this contemporaneous BBC report on the internet.
This report does not mention increasing troop numbers - that is for another report later in the year - but the hints are all there, our correspondent says.
That the NRP's BBC news program would suggest to its listeners that strategy and troop strength (resources) are two different things shows that the level of discussion is not yet very high.

Regards  —  Cliff

  He is also the commander of US military forces in Afghanistan.

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