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NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
CASE STUDIES IN STRATEGIC PLANNING
JAMES J. TRITTEN
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Director, Net Assessment, and
Competitive Strategies Office and
Strategic Planning Branch
fice of the Secretary of Defense
Defense & Policy Office
National Security Council
Washington, D. C. 20506
NPS-56-90-005 lshin 8 ton ' D - c - 20301
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
Rear Admiral Ralph vV. West, Jr. Harrison Shull
The work reported herein was supported by the Director, Net
Assessment, Competitive Strategies Office, and Strategic Planning Branch,
Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Policy Office of the
National Security Council Staff.
Reproduction of all or part of this report is authorized.
This report was edited by:
fHOMAS C. BRUNEAU GORDON SCHACHER
Professor and Chairman Dean of Faculty and
Department of National Graduate Studies
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CASE STUDIES IN STRATEGIC PLANNING
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JAMES J. TRITTEN, ED., ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
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Contains developed case studies in strategic planning on The Navy General Board, Joint
Service War Planning from 1919 to 1941, Navy Strategic Planning, NASA, The 1987 and
1988 National Security Strategies, Discriminate Deterrence, and Competitive Strategies,
This is a revised version of "Student Reports in Strategic Planning" NPS-56-88-031-PR
of September 1988.
8a. Additional sponsors are: OSD Competitive Strategies Office OSD/ES(CS0), OSD
Strategic Planning Branch OUSD/A PI/SP, and the Director of Defense Policy, NSC Staff.
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ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR JAMES J. TRITTEN
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SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF ThiS PAGE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dr. James J. Tritten ii
The Navy General Board
LT Mark K. Johnston, USN
LT John Inman, USN - - 1
Joint Service War Planning From 1919 to 1941
LCDR J. G. Rivenburg, USN
LT B. Boutwell, USN 15
Navy Strategic Planning
LT James A. Pelkofski, USN
LT John R. Hafey, USN
LT Jon A. Greene, USN 41
LT David A. Hildrebrand, USN
LT Tricia Vislay, USN - 69
The 1987 and 1988 National Security Strategies
LT M.A. Jones, USN
LT F.F. Randolph, USN 88
LT Rory Calhoun, USN
LCDR David A. Leary, USN 105
LT David J. Kern, USN
LCDR Eddie W. Daniel, USN -- 123
The attached case studies are a deliverable for the project "Strategic
Management for the Defense Department" sponsored by the Director, Net
Assessment, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and co-
sponsored by the OSD Competitive Strategies Office and Strategic Planning
Branch and the Director of Defence Policy National Security Council Staff.
A companion technical report, "Strategic Management for the Defense
Department," NPS-56-88-031, September 1988, details the project's genesis
and efforts during the first year. A follow-on (estimated September 1990)
Final Report will outline subsequent results. No attempt is made to
duplicate that information in this volume.
The case studies contained herein were prepared by strategic
planning curricula students enrolled in the National Security Affairs (NSA)
Department revised capstone Seminar in Strategic Planning (NS 4230),
taught during the Spring Quarter, Academic Years 1988 and 1989. This
seminar in 1988, was the first opportunity to introduce strategic
management concepts to students enrolled in the NSA strategic planning
curricula. Subsequent to that quarter, all NSA strategic planning students
take two Administrative science courses in strategic planning/management.
The cases herein were recycled to and revised by students that took
NS 4230 during 1989. They will be used in subsequent offerings of NS
4230 and in the capstone strategic management course in the
Administrative Sciences Department, Strategic Management: Public and
Private. This course, MN 4105, was also revised substantially to introduce
public sector material - much of it taken from the cases developed by the
NSA and Administrative Sciences faculty at the Naval Postgraduate
School who teach these two courses will continue a case study development
effort for classroom use. Initial briefings on this case study effort was
made to the sponsors at a meeting held in Monterey on 19-20 July 1988.
The first three cases contains individual examples of Navy strategic
planning and one case of joint service planning with emphasis on the Navy
and a maritime theater of military operations. The first of these involves a
historical example of strategic planning done by the Navy prior to World
War I. Inter-war strategic planning and in particular, war planning, is
examined in the second case study. In both cases, the relationship of pre-
war planning to execution of plans during a war is of interest to the reader.
The third report deals with more recent attempts at long-range
strategic planning within the Navy. This effort includes an overview of
general strategic planning system within the Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations, an examination of a special ad hoc planning effort conducted
by the Navy that made use of the expertise at the Naval War College, and
the recent 1980s Maritime Strategy effort. The Reagan administration
Maritime Strategy is an example of strategic planning and strategic
management conducted by a staff organization itself. Readers should also
look at a more indepth analysis: "A Theory of Naval Strategic Planning,"
by LT John R. Hafey, Naval Postgraduate School, Masters Thesis, June
1988, 119 pp.
The fourth case contains a non-DoD strategic planning example that
Navy strategic planning students would have not normally been exposed to
prior to this research project.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh case studies contain examples of
strategic planning and management done at the Washington headquarters
level. The fifth case is an example of strategic planning which results from
a Congressional mandate, and performed by line organizations within the
executive branch of government. The 1987 and 1988 White House reports,
National Security Strategy of the United States , represent planning in the
abstract - a plan not tied at all to any execution effort.
The sixth case is an example of a Blue-Ribbon panel commissioned
jointly by the Secretary of Defense and the Assistant to the President for
National Security Affairs. As the previously mentioned White House
reports, Discriminate Deterrence is the result of planning done without
regard to execution of that plan under a strategic management scheme.
The seventh case is the result of original research done on the introduction
of competitive strategies (a business concept) into the defense Department.
For a more indepth analysis of this effort, see "Analysis of the Competitive
Strategies Methodology (U)," Naval Postgraduate School, by LCDR
Michael C. Vitale, USN, Masters' thesis, December 1989, 190 pp.
The Competitive Strategies Initiative, as proposed by Secretary of
Defence Casper Weinberger in 1986, used the interaction between U.S.
strategic nuclear air-breathing forces and Soviet strategic air defences from
1957-1986 as a specific example of a successful case of strategic
competition. Our study results indicate the contrary and that there are not
yet in place in DoD sufficient monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure
a successful competitive strategic effort.
Each case has a background of the international or national context at
the time, a brief description of the strategic planning/management system
itself, key assumptions made by personnel involved in the process, and an
analysis of the key elements that resulted in success or failure of the plan or
the execution of that plan.
Comments from the sponsors and other readers of this report should
be directed to the project investigators:
Associate Professor, James J. Tritten (Code 56Tr)
Department of National Security Affairs
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
Associate Professor, Nancy C. Roberts (Code 54Rc)
Department of Administrative Sciences
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
THE NAVY GENERAL BOARD
LT Mark K Johnston, USN
LT John Inman, USN
In the late nineteenth century, the United States was beginning to
emerge as a world power. The industrial revolution was in full swing as
the nation and the entire civilized world was undergoing a vast
metamorphosis. Machinery replaced animals and wind as the source of
power in a more modem world. The United States was at the center of this
new world as steam power shrank the apparent distance between the
continents. In all, the United States found itself undergoing tremendous
changes, at a rate never before imagined possible.
The Navy found itself totally caught up in this era of change. The
shift from sail to steam was the most obvious of the changes that the Navy
was forced to deal with. Equally important, the Navy was now part of a
nation with true global interests, and also with some very powerful
potential adversaries. Germany, England and Japan were nations with
naval power capable of challenging United States interests around the
globe. These changes in technology and the world balance of power led
many people in the Navy to believe that an organized, formal method of
planning was needed in order to maintain the force level and degree of
modernization required for the Navy to fulfill its mission in protecting the
In an effort to cope with not only the growing complexity of
changing from sail to steam, but also the inability of the Commissioners to
manage the burgeoning detail associated with operating a Navy in a
bureaucratic government, the Bureau system was established in 1842.
Unfortunately, none of the Bureaus had the responsibility for supervising
the employment of ships or preparations for war.
Several events in the late nineteenth century influenced the formation
of the Navy General Board. The first event occurred in March, 1882 when
the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) was established under the Bureau of
Navigation. The purpose of the ONI was to get information for the Navy's
use in war and peace.
In October, 1884, the Naval War College was established and began
instructing Naval Officers about the importance of tactics, strategy, and the
value of war plans.
In June, 1889, the Bureau of Navigation's role was expanded to
include supervision of the fleet. This consolidated the forces necessary for
a Navy General Board. The Bureau of Navigation was responsible for the
operations of the fleet, and had the ONI to provide the necessary
intelligence information. In addition the Naval War College was available
to supplement the effort with planning expertise and manpower.
Many critics of the General Board pointed to the successes of the
Navy in the Spanish- American War and said that those victories vindicated
the existing planning system. The opponents' attitude was that the General
Board was an attempt by some people in the Navy to fix a system that
wasn't even broken. Proponents of the Board argued that it was Spanish
incompetence that led to the United States' victory. In the presence of a
formidable foe, the weakness of the Americans' plans would have rapidly
become apparent and led to disastrous defeat.
One final influencing factor was the Congressional promotion of
Admiral Dewey to the rank of Admiral of the Fleet, with lifelong tenure.
Because Admiral Dewey suddenly outranked the Bureau Chiefs and the
Fleet Commanders, there was no job in the Navy for him. The following
year a billet was created.
In the year 1900, the Secretary of the Navy John D. Long authorized
the formation of the General Board. 1 The job of this board, composed of
highly competent naval officers, was to plan for war. More specifically, it
sought to plan for war with Germany and Japan, though not exclusively so.
The type of war planning the General Board was to engage in dealt with
more than just the operations and tactics of naval warfare. It also included
planning for the force levels required for the Navy to conduct the wars the
General Board envisioned possible in the not too distant future.
The final output of the General Board was a war plan delivered to
the appropriate fleet commander. The war plan delivered was not,
however, a pure product of the General Board. Before its delivery, it was
reviewed/amended by the Intelligence Office, the Naval War College and
even the appropriate fleet commander.2 Recommendations for force levels
to support the war plans were delivered less formally via memoranda
delivered to the Secretary of the Navy.
The General Board never really saw its plans implemented. The war
with Germany in 1917 did not develop in the Caribbean as foreseen, since
the German fleet was kept bottled up by the British for most of the war.
By the time World War II came around, and scenarios much more closely
resembling those they envisioned became reality, the General Board had
lost its effectiveness and power as a planning body, as the Navy had come
full circle and reverted to its pre- 1900, more ad hoc planning style.
The original objectives of the General Board were to:
1. gather information on foreign powers,
2. prepare war plans, and
3. train officers in the art of war making/planning.
The second and third objectives were accomplished by the General
Board, but collection of information was often inadequate because the
collectors were not well informed on what type of information the General
Board wanted. They tended to provide information that was too detailed
and overlooked the broader picture. This lack of information limited the
Board's capability to perform accurate net assessments.
II. THE GENlERAL BOARD SYSTEM
The General Board's composition, as originally established by
Secretary Long, was as follows. There were to be two categories of
membership: ex-officio and individual. The ex-officio members
were: the Admiral of the Navy, the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, the
Chief Intelligence Officer, the President of the Naval War College, and the
principal assistant of each of the last two officials. Individual memberships
were to be three in number at or above the rank of Lieutenant
Commander.3. The Chief of the Bureau of Navigation was assigned as the
custodian of the war plans developed by the General Board.4 Additionally,
he served as the General Board's head in the absence of the Admiral of the
Navy. Meetings were required at least once each month, and at least two of
the monthly meetings each year were required to include daily sessions of
at least one week's duration. After only one year, the composition of the
board was changed to eliminate the assistants to the President of the Naval
War College and the Chief Intelligence Officer and instead allowed the
Secretary of the Navy to designate by name as many members, above
Lieutenant Commander, as he desired. 5.
General Board decisions were taken by vote. Each member had one
vote, regardless of rank.6 Admiral Dewey, the original head of the board,
was adamant about not permitting senior officers to influence the votes of
junior board members. Therefore, he permitted board decisions that he
did not agree with to be forwarded over his signature.7 This attitude was
not always popular with soon-to-be retired Admirals who were serving on
the board in a non-voting capacity, as they found themselves overruled by
voting officers much junior to themselves.
The actual planning process revolved around a group of committees
formed to handle the different types of plans required. The most
important of these committees was the Executive Committee. It was the
function of the Executive Committee to prepare the agenda for the General
Board's meetings and to take a preliminary look at material presented to
the General Board. 8 Also, the Executive Committee met on a near daily
basis and that, combined with its reviewing functions, made it the most
powerful committee of the General Board. Originally the Board's
chairman formed other committees and assigned tasks to particular
members of the Board based on their expertise. After two years, two other
permanent committees were formed. The First Committee had
responsibility for fleet organization, combined operations with the Army,
mobilization plans, and the analysis of foreign fleets. The Second
Committee was assigned war plans, naval militia affairs, and sea
Originally, the General Board was not going to have a permanently
assigned staff to assist in the planning process. This idea was soon
abandoned and officers of all ranks were assigned to the Board to help with
the administration and to lend expertise to the planning process.
Additionally, help could be sought from the War College or from the
Bureaus, especially on military matters that required a particular technical
knowledge or experience.
One of the key elements in the functioning of the Board was its
relationship with the Intelligence Office and the Naval War College. The
Intelligence Office served as the Board's source of information. The War
College provided extra personnel when needed and served as a type of
reviewing or proofing station for the plans the Board authored.
III. KEY ASSUMPTIONS AND CONSTRAINTS
Key assumptions made by the proponents of the General Board
prompted then to feel that the old planning system was inadequate. These
assumptions dealt mostly with the nature of the next war. It was assumed
that the next war would have a very sudden beginning, be very complex in
nature, and have a very high tempo. Germany and Japan were also
assumed to be the most probable enemies. The Board's supporters felt that
the old ad hoc system of planning was not up to the challenge of preparing
the nation for such a war. It was felt that proper planning could be done
only by those whose job it was to plan, and not by the Bureau Chiefs who
were too busy with the administration of their departments to give any
serious effort to the process of preparing effective war plans.
The Navy was not totally void of planning activity before the
General Board came into existence. Each of the Bureaus had plans of their
own for various contingencies. With no central planning system or method
of review, these plans were often uncoordinated, and sometimes directly at
odds with each other. However, the parochial attitude of the Bureau Chiefs
was strong, and they felt they knew what was best for themselves and the
Navy. They saw the existence of the General Board as an erosion of their
power and, in a way, they were correct. Thus, the old system of Bureaus
was a constraint on the planning function of the General Board as the
Bureau heads retained the true power base in the Navy.
In addition to the Bureau Chiefs, extremists in the Line Officer ranks
sought to constrain the General Board. These officers saw the General
Board in the old terms of the Staff versus Line power struggle that had
existed in military organizations for decades. The Line Officer community
saw the Board as a tool used by Staff Officers to wrestle more power away
from them and to place them in a subordinate position to the Staff Officers.
Resistance also came from outside the military. Congressional
leaders saw two major problems with the General Board. First, they
feared the formation of a "General Staff-type organization as an effort by
the Navy to stray from the traditional subordination of the United States
military forces to the civilian leadership. Specifically, it was felt that the
General Board might reduce the role of the Secretary of the Navy to that
of a puppet. Second, they were very comfortable with the power being
held by the Bureau Chiefs because it permitted numerous pork barrel
projects from the Navy to appear in their districts. 10.
Some real constraints came directly from the Office of the Secretary
of the Navy. For the General Board to be effective, a strong Secretary was
required to counter the resistance of the Bureau Chiefs. Unfortunately, the
position of Secretary of the Navy was viewed either as a political pay-off
or as a stepping stone to a more important position. As a result, between
1902 and 1909, there were seven different Secretaries of the Navy.l 1 Also,
many of the Secretaries were unwilling to resist the Bureau Chiefs even
when they supported the Board's ideas. They often believed that
maintaining harmony within the Navy was more important than defending
the Board's position.
There were three major elements and two minor ones that led to
removing the task of war planning from the General Board.
First, within the Navy there was a division of opinion. The partisan
Bureau Chiefs felt that their power to make decisions for the Navy was
being undermined by the General Board's recommendations. This
opposition increased the conflict between the Line and Staff Officers.
Additionally, with the death of the General Board's founder, Rear Admiral
Taylor, in 1904, support rapidly vanished for the Board because of the
methods used by its supporters to gain a legislative sanction. Board
supporters were accused of resorting to "muckraking and chicanery" in
order to gain the backing they needed. These tactics backfired and instead
of support they only fostered ill-will toward the formalizing of the General
Second, Congressmen opposed the continued existence of the General
Board because it would reduce government spending within their districts.
Since the General Board decided matters based on what was in the best
interest of the Navy, individual Congressmen would no longer be able to
count on the Navy to spend government funds in their home districts.
Some Congressmen also feared that the General Board would become an
American version of the German General Staff and might weaken the
Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Third, the lack of consistent leadership that resulted from revolving
the job of Secretary of the Navy frequently during this period was
detrimental to the General Board. Those Secretaries who liked the ideas
presented by the Board did not remain long enough to see the ideas
implemented. Also, in view of the internal opposition and the
Congressional opposition, there was no benefit for any of these men in
supporting such a controversial organization.
Rear Admiral Taylor's plan to establish the General Board first and
legitimize it afterward through legislation, contributed to the demise of the
Board as the central planning body for the Navy. Without the formal
backing and legitimacy that Congressional legislation would have brought
with it, the Board was doomed to failure. Despite the fact that the
Congress had approved the formation of a similar body for the Army, it
was reluctant to do the same for the Navy. This was blamed, in large part,
on poor salesmanship of the General Board by the Navy. Since there was
no law supporting the General Board, when the first real crisis arose
(World War I), support for the Board evaporated and planning
responsibilities reverted back to the Bureau Chiefs.
With the onset of the crisis in Europe in the 1910' s serious war
planning reverted tack to the Bureau Chiefs and the General Board concept
was never given a chance to prove its worth. Though the General Board
continued to exist into the 1940 's, any power or influence as a planning
organization was gone by the end of the first World War.
The second minor element which contributed to ruin of the General
Board was the failure of the Board itself to properly take into account
logistics problems. It was easy for those opposed to the Board to use the
Board's own plans against it since they were not well thought out where
logistics was concerned. Not that there were necessarily any better plans
around at the time, but the Board's oversights on logistics often became the
Board's own worst enemy. Additionally, the General Board never
established any workable system for the implementation of the plans it
formulated, and thus the Board's plans rapidly deteriorated into little more
than intellectual exercises. As a result, operational commanders rarely
took the plans formulated by the General Board as seriously as the planners
The overall goal of the General Board was to prepare the Navy for
the next war. In order to accomplish this it sought to centralize Navy
planning into a single body, with people, tools and time to formulate well
thought out, feasible war plans. This noble cause rapidly degenerated into
a bureaucratic power struggle over who was to do the planning for the
Navy. The onset of a crisis brought a premature end to that struggle. The
nation opted to stay with the old system when danger arose, rather than put
its faith into an unknown and unproven system. With victory came
vindication for the old Bureau system and the General Board would have
no chance to reassert itself in the inter-war years.
Costello, J.C. "Planning for War: A History of the General Board of
the Navy , 1900-1914" Ph.D. Dissertation, Fletcher School of Law and
Milsted, Charles E. "A Corp of Naval Strategists" Master's Thesis,
Naval Postgraduate School, 1983.
O'Connor, Raymond G., ed. American Defense Policy in
Perspective: From Colonial Times to the Present New York: John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., 1965.
DJ. Costello, Planning for War: A History of the General Board
the Navy, 1910-1914 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Fletcher School of Law and
Ibid. p. 35
Ibid. p. 24
Ibid. p. 25
Ibid. p. 30
Ibid. p. 32
Ibid. p. 34
Ibid. p. 5
Ibid. p. 117
JOINT SERVICE WAR PLANNING FROM 1919 TO 1941
LCDR J. G. Rivenburg, USN
LT B. Boutwell, USN
The joint service war planning process of the inter-war period
(1919-1941) produced a variety of plans in response to the changing
national security problem of the United States. In the early years of that
time period, the greatest effort was expended on Plan Orange, one of the
color plans first proposed in 1904. An evolving international and domestic
environment resulted in its replacement as a contingency plan to implement
U.S. policy by the Rainbow series of war plans in 1938. However, a
generation of naval officers that had been indoctrinated into the concept of
Plan Orange were able to execute a modified version of the plan during the
global Allied offensive against the Axis powers in the final phase of the
Second World War.
Until the Spanish- American War, the national interests of the United
States in the Pacific region were primarily economic, based on whaling and
commerce with the Asian market. The great powers of Europe had long
been extending their influence into the area and had established colonies
throughout the region. 1 During the later half of the nineteenth century, as
the United States grew economically and politically stronger, its interests
eventually conflicted with those of Spain. The result was the Spanish-
American War. Although the war started in Cuba, Theodore Roosevelt,
Secretary of the Navy and heavily influenced by the works of Admiral
Alfred T. Mahan, instigated operations by the American naval units of the
Asian Squadron, commanded by Commodore George Dewey, against the
Spanish squadron in Manila Bay. This action resulted in a victory for the
Americans, securing a colony in the Far East for the United States.
How the Philippines relate to the national interest and the national
security policy of the United States has been argued ever since this event.
The initial debate concerned whether the United States should make the
islands a possession or not. One element of the policy, claiming that
imperialism was against the principles of the American Republic, argued
for immediate independence of the islands. Another element argued that
the future of American economic interests were in Asia, and that the
United States must retain the Philippines as an outpost for American
commerce. The appearance of a squadron of German ships forced the
issue, and the Philippines were made a colony to prevent the division of the
islands by the European powers. 2
The United States was left with an obligation to protect the islands,
located 7,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States. Upon
implementing this policy, a militarily significant opportunity was lost when
Germany took over the Carolinas, Marianas, and Marshall Islands -
essentially cutting off the sea lines of communication between the United
States and the Philippines. 3 Despite the defeat of Germany in the First
World War, the security situation of the Philippines did not improve, as
Japan took advantage of Europe's concern with the war to pursue an
After the war, Japan was granted a League of Nations Mandate over
the Carolinas Islands, leaving the United States in the same situation. The
Japanese acquisition also complicated the support of the "Open Door"
policy of the United States towards China. Japan herself had already begun
to flex her newly developed national power, as evidenced by her victories
in the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars. The rise of Japan as a
Pacific power began to be recognized by the European powers when it
defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War 1905-1906. The United States
implicitly recognized her emergence indirectly when President Roosevelt
decided the Treaty of Portsmouth largely in its favor in 1906.
To an outside observer, Japan's government had the appearance of a
Western-style parliamentary structure; however the position of the armed
forces was unique, holding power equivalent to the elected civilian
leadership. The military pressed for increasing expansion to enhance the
power of Japan, and took drastic action, including assassination of members
of the civilian leadership to get their proposed policies enacted.^. The
aggressive nature of Japanese policy became apparent in 1931 when troops
were moved into Manchuria, violating the Nine-Power Treaty. The other
signatories, and also the League of Nations, were ineffectual in forcing
Japan to withdraw 'its troops.^ Lacking adequate sanctions against the
Japanese, and the political will to oppose Japan's aggression or break out of
the treaty limits, one of the few alternatives open to the United States was
to have its military make plans for future war.
At the beginning of this period, the Joint Planning Board continued
to develop the color series of war plans, which had been established in
1904. These were a series of campaign plans, which assumed war with a
single opponent, each assigned a color: red represented Great Britain,
green represented Mexico, black represented Germany, and orange
represented Japan.7 Of these plans, the one which received the most
attention was Plan Orange. As remote as war appeared at this time, war
with Japan was the least remote; additionally, the consequences of war with
Japan were the most serious.
This was due to the location of the Philippines. Given the great
distance from the United States and the small garrison, the Philippines were
extremely vulnerable to any attempt by Japan to extend its influence into
Southeast Asia. The Philippines dominated the sea lines of communication
between Japan and Indonesia and Indochina. By 1924, Plan Orange had
been officially accepted by the Joint Board and signed by the Secretaries of
War and the Navy. Plan Orange was revised officially at least five times
by 1938, notwithstanding continual review within the War and Navy
Despite official acceptance of Plan Orange, differences in perception
of war goals between the Army and the Navy continued to cause
controversy. Given the vulnerability of the Philippines, some Army
planners believed that their service's primary mission was defense of the
continental U.S. They proposed that in the event of a war with Japan, a
defensive position should be established in the Pacific (using the triangle
formed by Alaska, Hawaii, and Panama), and the Navy should conduct a
mobile defense of the coastline within that area. On the other hand, the
offensively-oriented Navy planners relied on Mahanian principles and
proposed an offensive, attacking strategy against Japan.
These basic questions were not resolved, as is apparent in both the
1937 and 1938 revisions of Plan Orange. 8 In 1937, a compromise plan was
submitted to the Joint Board. In 1938 the Joint Board had to force a
compromise from the planners by appointing two personalities, General
Embick and Rear Admiral Richardson, to get the plan approved. The
result was, predictably, a vague plan. However, even these vague
compromise plans had made progress in terms of the general idea of a
progressive advance westward to regain the Philippines. Exact time
schedules were not formulated, but concepts were.
By the late 1930s, the international arena had changed significantly
with the rise of the Axis powers. In 1939, the Rainbow Series of war plans
(numbers 1 through 5) were developed, differing in enemies, allies, and
defensive spheres. All the Rainbow Plans envisioned some type of
hemisphere defense and envisioned fighting more than one enemy. During
the years of planning, many scenarios were envisioned, including those of
enemy surprise air attacks. Some plans attempted to fight a "two front"
war with limited resources.
Rainbow 5 was selected as reflecting the most likely future situation.
It envisioned a coalition (to include the U.S.) conducting a strategic
offensive in Europe against Germany, and a strategic defensive in the
Pacific Theater in order to assist France and Great Britain, by fighting in
Europe, Africa, or both. This was the origin of the grand strategy of
defeating first Germany, and then Japan, the primary enemy in the Pacific.
As the international environment continued to change, national
security concerns of the U.S. became intertwined with those of its potential
allies. The Washington Staff Conferences were held in 1941, followed by
the American British Conversations between the planning staffs of both
nations to coordinate future policy if the U.S. were to enter the war. The
result of this conference was the ABC-1 report.
II. JOINT WAR PLANNING SYSTEM, 1919-1941
The agency responsible for the development of joint service war
plans was the Joint Planning Committee, established in 1919. The Joint
Planning Committee was subordinate to the Joint Army-Navy Board, which
had been originally established in 1903. The first Joint Board had consisted
of eight members, four from the General Staff of the Army, and four from
the General Board of the Navy 9 Their charter was to consider "...all
matters requiring the cooperation of the two Services in an effort to reach
agreement on a program acceptable to both." 10
The Joint Board met monthly; it was found to be a frustrating forum
for resolution of questions of policy, both for the services, which often had
differing views, and for the political leadership, which expected a unified
position with no dissention among the military leadership. Some of the
more difficult questions it addressed involved strategy for the Pacific
region. One example concerned the location of future naval bases. The
Army wanted to pursue a strategy of forward defense in the Philippines,
and wanted a base on Manila Bay and fortifications to protect the capital at
Manila. The Navy preferred a more flexible strategy of sea control, and
preferred bases at Guam and Pearl Harbor to provide a secure line of
communications with supporting facilities to allow the fleet to operate
throughout the Western Pacific. Another dispute arose over the disposition
of the U.S. Fleet; should it be predominantly in either the Atlantic or
Pacific, or evenly split between the two oceans? The completion of the
Panama Canal only partially solved this problem.
By 1914, meetings of the Board had been suspended three separate
times by the President due to his dissatisfaction with the Board. During
WWI, the Joint Board was not involved in running the war effort, and met
only twice.ll The two service secretaries approved a recommendation in
1919 by the War Plans division of the General Staff of the Army to
reorganize the Joint Board, to give it the power to initiate studies of
strategic issues, and to provide it with a staff of planners from both
services. 12 Membership on the "new" Joint Board was dependant on billet
rather than appointment. The members from the Army were the Chief of
Staff, the Chief of the G-3 section, and the Chief of the War Plans
Division; the members from the Navy were the Chief of Naval Operations,
the Assistant Chief" of Naval Operations, and the Chief of the War Plans
Division. 13 Serving as a permanent staff to the Joint Board was the Joint
Planning Committee, consisting of officers from the War Plans Division of
each service. 14
A close relationship developed along service lines among various
organizations which supported the Joint Planning Committee. The Army
planners were drawn from the War Plans Division of the General Staff.
The War Plans Division was one of the five sections of the General Staff.
The other sections were: G-l, Personnel; G-2, Intelligence; G-3,
Operations; and G-4, Logistics. Officers to be assigned to the General
Staff were educated at the Army War College, which was heavily involved
with the General Staff. Firm ties were established with the Naval War
College to facilitate joint planning. 15 The students studied the war
planning process and wrote their own plans that were quite realistic; often
the War Plans Division asked the school to conduct special studies. The
efforts "...did not provide the War Plans Division of the General Staff with
plans that could be dusted off as war came to America;. ..however,...
officers attending the War College... were conditioned to think in global
terms totally out of proportion to the contemporary capabilities of the
small services that sent them to reflect on war and to plan for it for a year
as students. 16
Traditionally, the Navy has been more operationally oriented and has
not had the advantage of a centralized General Staff, despite efforts to
establish one in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1919 a War Plans
Division designated OP-12 was formed in the office of the Chief of Naval
Operations. About twelve officers were assigned and were responsible for
naval planning until mobilization for WWI.17 The Naval War College did
not serve the same purpose as the Army War College. Since there since
there General Staff billets to fill, the officers attending the Naval War
College could devote time to operational matters of the fleet. In addition to
the theoretical aspects of war that their Army counterparts studied, the
practical part of their education consisted of wargaming exercises rather
than planning exercises. Wargamming, in turn, tied into the war planning
process by serving as the official testing agency of the assumptions and
expectations which supported the war planning doctrines used by the Joint
Board and OP-12.18
The process of developing a plan and gaining its approval began with
the Joint Board authorizing the preparation of new plans or the revision of
existing ones. The Joint Planning Committee would then conduct a study;
make an estimate of the situation including the intentions and capabilities of
potential enemies and friends; devise a plan, coordinated with the War
Planning Divisions of both services; and submit it to the Joint Board for
approval. If the plan was approved, the Joint Board would submit it to the
service secretaries for their signatures. By the time this process was
completed, the situation had often changed sufficiently to require a new
plan. Some important features of the system included the ability of the
military to initiate the planning process, a reluctance to make hard choices,
a tendency toward compromise, and the ultimate approval of the plan by a
civilian political appointee.
In this overview of the organizations involved in the planning
process, one can detect an emphasis on developing strategic thought, rather
than a search for the ultimate strategy. Future leaders within the system
were prepared by familiarizing them with the national strategic problem
and establishing various underlying war fighting and planning concepts.
Given the changing international and domestic environment of the inter-
war period, and the technological and doctrinal innovation that was part of
this time frame, this emphasis was to serve the nation well in the future.
III. ASSUMPTIONS AND CONSTRAINTS
Any military problem can be analyzed in three major categories that
define the requirements of attainment of the desired objective; space, time,
and means. An additional set of assumptions and constraints exists in the
larger political context of national security where diplomatic and economic
concerns must be coordinated with the military aspects of the situation.
In the spacial dimension, the deployment of a limited number of
military forces to meet international commitments and potential threats
results in a series of trade-offs. Specifically, although the security of the
Atlantic/European sphere was more vital to the national interest than the
security of the Pacific/Asian sphere, the threat in the Atlantic sphere did
not manifest itself until late in the inter- war period. By that time, the
threat had also grown in the Pacific sphere. Similarly, the potential areas of
operations in the Atlantic sphere were in closer proximity to the U.S., and
thus more logistically supportable, than the areas of operations in the
Pacific. These twin constraints, relatively lower national interests and
logistic supportability, combined with the limited forces available, were
some of the considerations of planners formulating early versions of Plan
Orange. The planners had to decide how space was to be utilized: either
offensively or defensively. To make this determination, they had to
understand the interrelationships among the strategic, operational, and
tactical levels of war.
The temporal dimension consists of time as an absolute measure and
time as a relative measure. Time as an absolute changed drastically as the
parameters of the war plans changed from the 90-day campaign envisioned
in the original Plan Orange to the rather open ended time component of the
Rainbow series, which envisioned the defeat of Germany before the defeat
of Japan. In the relative measure of time, it was determined that the U.S.
would not be the aggressor, and that Japan would strike first, thus
surrendering the initiative to them.
The last category of military consideration is the means to implement
the plan. This includes the forces available, their war fighting doctrine,
and their organization. The Washington Naval Treaty (1922) and the
London Naval Treaty (1930) limited numbers and tonnage of capital ships
available to the fleet, and prohibited the U.S. from fortifying any
possessions west of Hawaii, thus constraining the means available to the
military. Additionally, fiscal constraints and isolationist attitudes limited
the peacetime force structure of the United States armed forces.
Counter to these constraints were the innovations occurring in naval
aviation, land aviation, submarine operations, amphibious assault, and naval
at-sea logistics. A combination of technological and doctrinal innovation
and the changing assumptions expanding the time component of war plans
served to change the operational aspects of inter-war planning.
A separate military consideration of the planners was whether forces
would be organized under a unified command with a joint staff or as
separate forces under a joint system of command. The planners
recommend that "...all forces should be under the immediate command of
an officer of their respective service, but that it was essential to have a
single over-all commander with a joint staff to control each phase of the
operations."^ The Joint Board rejected the requirement for unified
command, but in a review of a later version of the plan, the Secretaries of
War and Navy approved the concept. 20
A major constraint was imposed on the joint war planning process
due to the lack of guidance provided by the political leadership. One
reason for this might have been a perception held by the President and
Secretary of State that specific guidance given to the military might limit
their freedom of action in diplomatic policy. One effort during the inter-
war period to allow for the participation of State Department
representatives in the planning process failed. In the 1920s, Secretary of
State Charles E. Hughes"... rejected a bid for a formal and permanent
liaison between the departments (of State, War, and Navy). "21 Later, in
1935, as the international situation grew more uncertain, the Secretaries of
the War and Navy Departments asked the Secretary of State to designate a
representative to meet with the Joint Board; this request was granted.22
In 1939 as the international situation became even more ominous,
President Roosevelt changed the reporting relationship of the Joint
Board. 23 it now reported directly to him, although still via the respective
secretaries. Also, although not formally in the planning process, similar
war planning talks occurred at informal meetings of the "War Council"
composed of the President, his military advisors, the Secretaries of State,
War, and Navy, and the service Chiefs.24
Key elements of both the joint war plans and the joint war planning
system of the inter- war period will be the subject of this analysis. The war
plans, Orange and Rainbow Series, are part of the historical record as
variations of both were either implemented or part of the military policy
of the nation. The planning system which produced those plans evolved
into the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which currently struggles with the same types
of problems that the inter-war planners faced. The joint plans could be
judged as success, as they provided the framework for the operations that
eventually decided the war in favor of the Allies. Victory in the war can
also be attributed to other important factors, however, such as industrial
production and the political strength of the Allied coalition. The joint
planning system, given its inability to resolve differences among services in
the planning process or to ensure the support of the political leadership,
might be classified as a failure, however, the system produced a number of
broad strategic concepts that aided the military in the conduct of the war,
and perhaps through the articulation of difference, the services came to a
better mutual understanding.
The joint war plans of the inter-war period began as nothing more
than elaborate campaign plans and evolved into a concept for a global
strategy. In this evolution, the plans became more flexible with multiple
possibilities to achieve the objective. As the plans became more flexible, the
matching of ends to means became more realistic, and the time component
became tied more to the mobilization capacity of the United States rather
than to a time table to operationally deploy a force to do battle with the
Any plan must be judged on the basis of feasibility and suitability.
Feasibility is a measure of ends and means; suitability is a measure of the
ability of the plan to accomplish its stated objective. As contingency plans,
the early variations of Plan Orange, were not feasible. They required the
9,000 Army troops garrisoned in the Philippines to hold out against an
estimated 300,000 Japanese troops available in the Philippines thirty days
after the initial Japanese attack. Meanwhile, the U.S. battle fleet would
sortie, and dash across oceans, to fight the Japanese fleet in a decisive battle
to gain sea control and then relieve the Philippines to end the war within
ninety days after hostilities commenced. The forces required to implement
this plan were not available within this short span of time, and as arms
control, a weakening domestic economy, and pacifist attitudes further drew
down force structure, the war plans became less feasible.
Later versions of Plan Orange required a progressive advance across
the Pacific, seizing islands suitable for advanced air and naval bases, and
relieving the Philippines enroute to placing the Japanese home islands
under siege by air and naval forces. This version expected a prolonged
war, which meant that sufficient forces could be mobilized, over time, to
accomplish the objective.
The Rainbow Series of plans increased the scope and sophistication
of available war plans. Though the Rainbow series did not contain the
operational details of the Color Series, they did recognize some important
facets of a future war. First, aggressive action by the Axis powers could
harm American security interests; thus Germany and Italy joined Japan as
potential enemies, and the defense of the Western Hemisphere once again
became a prime concern. Second, a future war would be global in scope,
and would be a contest between alliances rather than between individual
nations. Third, the strategy must be supported by mobilization planning to
build up forces in as orderly a manner as possible, when required. The
ABC-1 report, building on the U.S. perspective of Rainbow 5, even went so
far as to provide the framework for a potential alliance with Britain and a
rudimentary war plan.25
The suitability of the war plans produced by the joint planning
process when judged within the political-military context of the period
appears adequate. The early Plan Orange envisioned a limited war with a
single nation as an opponent, with the relatively narrow objective of
regaining possession of the Philippines. The Rainbow 5 plan envisioned a
coalition war with the wider objective of the defeat of the opposing
Three key elements of the joint planning process were the attempt to
coordinate the Arrhy and Navy, to coordinate civilian and military policy,
and to coordinate policy among the members of the coalition. A review of
the plan shows that the system was flawed; many important issues were
ignored and various conflicts arose among the participants in the planning
Coordination between the Army and Navy was often due to
perceptual differences. It takes a great deal of effort to comprehend and
synthesize the many viewpoints that exist between the services and among
factions within each service. Paradoxically, it is this situation which proves
the value of war plans written by military professionals, rather than
civilian "experts". A planner who has attained a specific perspective
through operational experience, and who then transcends that perspective
through education and introspection, has an advantage over an outsider
lacking that experience.
The coordination of civilian and military policy is often slighted in
peace time. The conservative estimates of the military in balancing ends
and means is often disrupted by the peacetime over-commitments when
compared to peacetime force structure. International agreements such as
arms control treaties, can also disrupt calculations of ends and means,
especially if provisions are not made for contingencies requiring rapid
"break out" from the treaty despite domestic pressure due to the actions of
a potential opponent. The most important element in the planning process
with regards to coordination of political and military policy is the receipt
of political guidance. Although generally forthcoming after a build-up of
tensions occurs, dialogue between military planners and civilian policy
planners is a requirement for realistic planning.
Coordination of coalition policy is a difficult balancing act where the
goals of the coalition must be compared to the goals of the individual
nations. If not careful, an ally can be almost as dangerous as an enemy.
Therefore, the determination of coalition policy must be primarily the
responsibility of the political leadership rather than the military.
The joint war plans themselves were documents which often were
reflections of compromises and infighting among the services, and which
often lacked both the guidance and support of the political leadership.
However, the joint planning system, by concentrating on devising possible
solutions to seemingly insoluble problems, and by eventually injecting a
fair amount of realism into the process, produced a cohort of officers that
could shape the nation's war effort.
Bell, Michael M. National Security Planning: Roosevelt Through
Reagan . Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1988.
A review of U.S. post-WW II national security policy emphasizing the
assumptions made by planners and the political process of ultimate security
decisions written by a former State Department and Pentagon official. The
first two chapters discuss the inter-war and war-time period.
Farmer, Tristram E., Ensign USN. "Too Little, Too Late: The Fight for
the Carolines, 1898." Naval History. Winter 1989, pp. 20-25.
This article relates the diplomatic maneuvering after the Spanish-American
war which eventually impacted the national security problem of the United
States and the development of Plan Orange.
Gael, Henry G. "War Planning at the War College in the Mid-1930s."
Parameters, Vol XV no. 1, pp. 52-64.
The education of U.S. Army planners at the Army War College, and their
participation in the war planning system.
Hayes, Grace Person. The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in World
War II: the war Against Japan . Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press 1982.
A portion of the history of the wartime activities of the JCS, prepared by
the Historical Section of the staff, based on official documents.
Isely, Jeter A. and Phillip A. Crowl. The U.S. Marines and Amphibious
War: Its Theory, and Its Practice in the Pacific . Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1951.
The strategic requirements of Plan Orange, combined with the efforts of
the United States Marine Corps to redefine their mission, led to the
development of amphibious doctrine. As Plan ORANGE was implemented
in the Pacific Theater, amphibious assault was an important operational
Martin, John R., Major USA. "War Plan ORANGE and the Maritime
Strategy." Military Review. May 1989, pp. 24-35.
A discussion of the unsuitability of the offensive-oriented aspects of Plan
Orange and its unsuccessful implementation by MacArthur in the defense
of the Philippines in the early days of the U.S. involvement in WW II
compared with the assumed unsuitability of the offensive-oriented aspects
of The Maritime Strategy in a future war with the Soviets. The article
does not recognize the later versions of Plan Orange which envisioned a
prolonged campaign, aspects of which were implemented in the war.
Matloff, Maurice, and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition
Warfare 1941-1942 . United States Army in World War II Series - The
War Department, Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military
History, Department of the Army ,1953.
Part of the U.S. Army history series of World War II. Detailed analysis
with extensive primary source referencing.
Matloff, Maurice. "The American Approach to War, 1919-1945", in The
Theory and Practice of War . Ed. Michael Howear, New York: Fredrick A.
Praeger, Publishers, 1966.
An essay on inter-war and WW II strategic planning which discusses in
turn the development of naval, land, and air strategies.
Matloff, Maurice. "Prewar Military Plan and Preparation, 1939-1941." U. S.
Naval Institute Proceedings. July 1953, pp. 741-748.
This article relates how the nature of war planning changed as Europe
became embroiled in war. Plans became more realistic as means were
better matched to ends. The activities of the planners in the previous two
decades had set the outlines of strategy, so that as war became imminent,
more detailed planning could occur.
Melhorn, Charles M. Two-Block Fox: The Rise of the Aircraft Carrier.
1911-1929 . Annapolis: Naval Institute Press 1974.
The development of the aircraft carrier as a weapon of war in the United
Miller, Edward S. Lessons of War Plan Orange for Maritime Strategists .
Monterey: Naval Postgraduate School, 1987.
Analysis compares the contemporary "Maritime Strategy", published by the
U.S. Navy, with the basis concepts of war Plan Orange.
Morton, Louis. "Origins of Pacific Strategy." Marine Corps Gazette.
August 1957, pp. 36-43.
Relates the deliberations of the Joint Army-Navy Board concerning Pacific
strategy within the international and domestic political context in the years
1903 to 1913.
Morton, Louis, "War Plan ORANGE: Evolution of a Strategy." World
Politics, January 1959, pp. 221-250.
This article emphasizes the considerations of Army planners, and the need
to change assumptions as the environment shifts.
Morton, Louis. Strategy and Command: The First Two Years. United
States Army in World War II Series — The War in the Pacific .
Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of
the Army, 1962.
Part of the U.S. Army history series of World War U. Detailed analysis
with extensive primary source referencing.
O'Connor, Raymond G. Perilous Equilibrium: The United States and the
London Naval Conference of 1930 . Lawrence, KN: University of Kansas
An account of international efforts at naval arms limitation in the inter-war
period and its effect on U.S. foreign and military policy.
Quinlan, Robert J. "Diplomacy, Strategy and the Allocation of Ships (1940-
1941)." In American Civil-Military Decisions — A Book of Case Studies —
The United States Fleet, pp. 153-199. Edited by Harold Stein. A Twentieth
Century Fund Study. University of Alabama Press, 1963.
Eleven case studies are presented of U.S. decision-making.
Reynolds, Cloark G. "The Maritime Strategy of World War II: Some
Implications." Naval War College Review. May - June 1986, pp. 43-50.
An analysis of the Allied coalition strategy of WW n, and how Plan
ORANGE fit into that strategy.
Shelton, Micheal W. "Plan Orange Revisited." U.S. Naval Institute
Proceedings. December 1984, pp. 50-56.
Short analytical article comparing war planning against Japan with that as
planned against the Soviet Union today.
Spector, Ronald H. Eagle Against the Sun New York: The Free Press, 1985.
An interpretive work utilizing both primary and secondary sources which
analyzes the policy, strategy, and operations from the American point of
view of the Pacific Theater in WW II.
Vladhos, Michael. "Wargaming, an Enforcer of Strategic Realism: 1919-
1942." Naval War College Review. March - April 1986, pp. 7-22.
Wiegley, Russell F. The American Way of War: A History of United
States Military Strategy and Policy . Bloomington, IN: Indiana University
A well- written survey of American military history that is extensively
1 Louis 'Morton, Strategy and Command: The First Two Years.
United States Army in World War II Series: The War in the Pacific
(Washington, D.C., 1962), p. 13
2. Tristram E. Farmer, "Too Little, Too Late: The Fight for the
Carolines, 1898", Naval History, Winter 1989, p. 21.
3 Farmer, "Too Little", p. 25.
4 Raymond G. O'Connor, Perilous Equilibrium: The United
States and the London Naval Conference of 1930 . (Lawrence, KN:
University of Kansas Press, 162), p. 3
5. Ronald H. Spector, Eagle Against the Sun , (New York: The
Free Press, 1985), pp. 33-35, 41-43.
6. Grace Hayes Person, The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
in World War II: The War Against Japan iAnnapolis. MD: Naval Institute
Press, 1982), p. 5)
7. Russel F. Weigley, The American Way of War: A History of
United States Military Strategy and Policy . (Bloomington,, IN: Indiana
University Press, 1973), pp. 200-201
8. Morton, Strategy and Command, p. 38.
9. Louis Morton, "Origins of Pacific Strategy", Marine Corps
Gazzett, August 1957, p. 37.
10. Morton, "Origins", p. 37
11 Morton, "Origins", p. 43.
12 Louis Morton, "War Plan ORANGE: Evolution of a Strategy",
World Politics, January 1959, p. 225.
13. Russell F. Weigley. The American Way of War: A History of
United States Military Strategy and Policy . (Bloomington, IN: Indiana
University Press, 1973), p. 245.
14. Ronald H. Spector, Eagle Against the Sun , p. 56
15. Henry G. Gole, "War Planning at the War College in the Mid-
1930s," Parameteus, Vol. XV. No. 1, p. 55.
16. Gole, "War Planning", pp. 62-63
17. Edward S. Miller, "Lessons of War Plan Orange for
Maritime Strategists," (Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate School, 1987),
18. Michael Vlahos, "Wargaming, an Enforcer of Strategic
Realism: 1919-1942", Naval War College Review. March - April 1986, FN
no. 3 on p. 21.
19. Hayes, History of the Joint Chiefs , pp. 4-5
20. Hayes, History of the Joint Chiefs , p. 5.
21. O'Connor, Perilous, p. 12
22. Morton, "War Plan ORANGE", p. 241.
23. Morton, Strategy and Command , p. 37.
24. Morton, Strategy and Command , p. 84.
25. Maurice Matloff, "Prewar Military Plans and Preparations,
1939-41", U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, July 1953, pp. 743-744.
26. Vlahos, "Wargamming", p. 13.
NAVY STRATEGIC PLANNING
LT James A. Pelkofski, USN
LT John R. Hafey, USN
LT Jon A. Greene, USN 1
Many analysts feel that the key to efficient operation of the
Department of Defense is effective strategic planning, but most sense that
the Department of Defense and, perhaps especially, the Navy have not
planned effectively. 2 This study will examine three attempts by the Navy
to formulate and execute long range planning. The first "case" will discuss
the Navy's systems for long-range planning. The second and third,
however, will examine more ad hoc planning processes that resulted in
outputs known as Sea Plan 2000 and The Maritime Strategy. After
discussing the background and systems of these three cases, the objectives,
assumptions, and constraints of the processes will be discussed. Finally, the
three processes will be evaluated. The focus of this paper will not be the
outputs of these processes (what they recommended), but the processes
THE NAVY'S STRATEGIC PLANNING SYSTEM
The Navy's' first experiment with long-range planning was the
General Board. Between 1900 and 1951 the General Board advised the
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) on force levels and strategic issues to a
10 year horizon (Ref. l:p. 62). Once influential, the General Board lost
power after a reorganization of Navy planning responsibilities in 1945
(Ref. 2:pp. A-l— A-4). In 1954 the Navy attempted to revive long-range
planning by convening the Ad Hoc Committee to Study Long Range
Shipbuilding Plans and Programs. The renewed interest in strategic
planning continued in 1955 as the Navy formed the Long Range Planning
Objectives Group (OP-93) and the Naval Warfare Analysis Group (Ref.
The CNO tasked OP-93 with advising him on broad issues such as
naval missions and requirements 10-15 years into the future (Ref. l:p. 63).
Its major output was an annual statement of Long Range Objectives. This
document was widely circulated within the Navy to simplify and direct the
planning of subordinate levels (Ref. 2: pp.. A-9-A-11).
With the advent of the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting
System (PPBS), OP-93 gradually lost influence. In 1963, the group was
removed from the office of the CNO and placed under Navy Program
Planning (OP-090-now OP-08) (Ref. 2:p. A-12). In 1964, its major
output, the Long Range Objectives, became the Medium Range Objectives.
document was far more fiscally oriented and less conceptual than its
predecessor. Later the Navy Strategic Study replaced the Medium Range
Objectives. The Deputy CON for Plans and Policy (OP-06) developed this
policy document specifically for use within the PPBS (Ref. 2:p. A-14).
Finally, the Systeins Analysis Division (OP-96) took over Navy long-range
planning functions, and the Long Range Objectives Group was
Thus since the early 1960s, PPBS and systems analysis, working on a
5-10 year horizon, have dominated Navy planning (Ref. 2:pp. A-14--A-15).
The outputs of the process have been mostly budget-oriented, force
structure planning rather than conceptual studies, and have exhibited a lack
of integration and centralization (Ref. 2:p. A-19)
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM
Long-range planning in the Navy today is the product of two
systems: extended planning and strategic planning The former uses short-
term trend analysis and linear extrapolation; the latter uses a non-linear
approach that seeks to identify and influence future discontinuities (Ref.
The extended planning system is part of the PPBS. The CNO's
Program Advisory Memorandum initiates the process by highlighting key
force structure changes needed to execute the Navy's strategy (Ref. 5:p. 26)
In the Program Planning and Development Phase, resources are assigned to
programs to fulfill the guidelines from the CON and SECNAV (Ref 5:p.
Paralleling this process, the Director of Naval Warfare (OP-07)
develops Warfare Mission Area Appraisals. These are studies of trends in
naval warfare 5, 10, and sometimes 20 years into the future, designed to
provide a link between the Navy's strategy and the Program Objective
Memorandum (POM) (Ref. 5:pp. 31-32). These studies divide naval
warfare into mission areas, and develop and publish "strategies" in a
Master Plan (Ref. 5:p.33) using an alternative futures methodology (Ref .4:
Enclosure (1)). Strategic planners within the various warfare areas and in
OP-06 contribute to the Master Plans (Ref. 6).
Ending the process, OP-08 integrates these inputs to formulate the
POM (Ref. 5:p. 24), a list of Navy force structure desires for the next five
years. Finally, the POMs of the Navy and the other services are
aggregated into the Five Year Defense Plan (FYDP) for the Department of
What the Navy calls strategic planning is the product of several
groups. Foremost is OP-OOK, the Navy Long Range Planning Group,
working for the CON within the CNO Executive Panel (CEP) (Ref. 6).
OP-OOK's mission is "(to) advise the CNO on a wide range of scientific,
political-military, and strategic matters; to examine long-range Navy
planning issues; and to serve as the link between the CNO and the CEP"
(Ref. 7) Two important annual outputs of OP-OOK are its Long-Range
Planner's Conference, designed "to address long-range planning issues of
importance to senior level officers involved in the Navy's long-range
planning process" (Ref. 7) and the Long Range Assessment—a 20 year
planning projection (Ref 6).
Two other strategic planning groups within the Navy are the
Strategic Studies (jroup (SSG) located at the Naval War College and the
Strategic Concepts Group (OP-603). The SSG supplements the work of
OP-OOK and conducts both long- and short-term projects (Ref. 8). OP-603
deals primarily in strategic concepts and forecasts to a 10-20 year horizon
SEA PLAN 20003
The financial burden of the Vietnam War and the Great Society,
shifted budgetary priorities away from defense force modernization. As a
result, the Navy retired many ships without replacement in the late 1960s
and early 1970s, and naval end strength declined dramatically. The Ford
Administration sought to reverse this trend; its last five year Shipbuilding
Plan called for purchasing 157 ships at a cost of about 60 billion dollars.
After taking office in January 1977, President Carter initially
supported the Ford plan. As work began in earnest on Carter's first defense
budget, however, the Administration's enthusiasm waned. A draft Defense
Guidance implied that a Navy of 450 ships with 10 carriers would fulfill
projected strategic requirements. This was significantly below the Navy's
estimate of required forces: 600 ships and 15 carriers. The Administration
based the draft Defense Guidance on a NATO-Warsaw Pact confrontation
in Central Europe. According to the scenario, naval forces would engage
only in defensive sea control operations. The Office of the Secretary of
Defense (OSD) maintained that force sizing based on this scenario would
produce a military capable of meeting all other contingencies.
When the Navy questioned the planning assumptions of the draft
Defense Guidance, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown directed Navy
Secretary W. Graham Claytor to commission a study group to articulate
the Navy's position. The product of this study group was Sea Plan 2000.
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM
The Sea Plan 2000 "system" was an ad hoc, one-time planning
committee, headed by Francis J. "Bing" West, then of the Naval War
College's Center for Advanced Research. The panel consisted of ten naval
and two Marine officers, between the ranks of 0-4 and 0-6, and four
technical advisors. The group produced two large SECRET volumes and
an UNCLASSIFIED executive summary.
The first step taken in the planning process was to project a wide
range of situations in which future naval forces might participate. These
situations were based on past uses of naval forces rather than any specific
scenario. The group then determined the force levels and platforms
required to meet those situations and backed up the force level predictions
with extensive battle and campaign analyses. The plan sought to answer
two questions: (1) what can policy makers expect from naval forces? and
(2) how capable are our forces— and the corollary, what forces are
required~to carry out these tasks through the year 2000? The planners
assumed that decision makers knowledgeable about the range of activities
that naval forces perform in support of national policy will make better
decisions on the future size and structure of the Navy.
To determine what capabilities future forces should possess, the
panel contended, one must relate national security objectives to naval
missions or tasks. They accomplished this by postulating key national
security objectives and outlining the series of measures or tasks that naval
forces would have to perform in support of these objectives. With this
framework established, the panel recommended the forces required to
effectively execute the tasks based upon extensive analytical studies.
Finally, the panel listed different budgetary options and detailed the risks
associated with each.
THE MARITIME STRATEGY*
During the late 1970s, there was a convergence of several factors that
eventually led to the Navy's adoption of the Maritime Strategy. First, an
unsatisfactory U.S. foreign policy record in the 1970s led to a desire for a
more assertive U.S. stance. Second, the works of several naval theorists
resurrected the concepts of classical naval theory, which the advent of
nuclear weapons had discredited. Third, there was a development of
widespread offensive thinking within the Navy's officer corps. Next, the
work of analysts like Robert Herrick and James Mc Connell shattered the
widely held view of the Soviet Navy as a mirror- image of the U.S. Navy.
Gradually, the Soviets were accepted as having an essentially defensive
strategy at sea. Finally, in June 1978, the President appointed Admiral
Thomas B. Hayward as Chief of Naval Operations. Hayward's appointment
was an affirmation of the new offensive thinking in the Navy. As
CINCPACFLT, Hayward had directed the "Sea Strike Strategy" project, a
strategy emphasizing aggressive, forward carrier operations. Moreover,
Hayward wished to change the nature of the debate within the Navy from a
budget battle into a discussion of conceptual issues of global maritime
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM
In April 1981, Admiral Hayward formed the SSG in Newport.
Bright young officers, selected for their education and experience, staffed
the SSG for one year of work. The SSG reported directly to the CNO, but
worked out of Newport to take advantage of the resources and atmosphere
of the Naval War College and to insulate itself from the crises of the
From the outset, Hayward directed the SSG to think about the task of
winning a global conventional war with the Soviet Union. The first group
of SSG officers sought to overcome the parochial thinking of various
"unions" within the Navy and reach a consensus on how to fight such a
war. Their methodology was to synthesize the strategic thinking of the
most senior and powerful officials in the Navy. They went from office to
office, inside and outside of the Pentagon, in pursuit of this goal. The first
SSG established the conceptual basis and feasibility of forward aggressive
naval strategy. The second SSG continued the previous efforts, refining
the work of the first group.
Their studies laid the ground work for what was to become the
Maritime Strategy. The proximate cause of the strategy's birth, however,
was the desire of Hayward and many other senior naval officers to link
force development to strategy and "...to get the entire OPNAV staff
moving in the same direction" in developing the POM. They decided the
best way to do this was to produce a strategy for the Navy.
Within the Strategic Concepts Group (OP-603), Lieutenant
Commander Stan Weeks was assigned to carry out the task. Quickly it
became clear that this was not just another assignment and Commander W.
Spencer Johnson was assigned to assist Weeks. They turned to the SSG's
work, analyses of the Soviet Navy by the Center for Naval Analyses and
the Office of Naval Intelligence, and to the basic concepts supplied by the
CNO. Within three weeks they had developed a SECRET draft briefing.
The purpose of the study was to provide internal guidance to the OPNAV
staff for force planning and budget decisions, to ensure they were "all
singing from the same sheet of music." But within two months, Weeks and
Johnson briefed the new CNO, Admiral James D. Watkins, and their
briefing had become the Navy's official Maritime Strategy.
Admiral Watkins had several objectives he wished to achieve as
CNO. First, he wanted to tap the knowledge and experience of the CINCs
in order to define and resolve some of the key issues facing the Navy.
Perhaps the primary issue was how the Navy might help deter the Soviet
Union. Second, Watkins wanted to revitalize the Naval War College as a
center of strategic and tactical thinking and to reinvigorate strategic
thinking in the Navy. Finally, he wanted to emphasize joint operations,
particularly with the Air Force, and the coalition nature of the U.S. defense
effort. Watkins saw the Maritime Strategy as a tool to help achieve these
ends. Thus, within a few months, some loosely coupled ideas developed
by the SSG had become the basis of Watkins' presentations to Congress on
how the Navy would fight a war.
The next phase of development for the Maritime Strategy took place
when Commander Peter Swartz, relieved Weeks and Johnson of their
responsibilities for the document. Swartz felt his basic task was to bring
the disparate strategic thinking of the Navy's "unions" into convergence.
Instead of relying on the SSG, he conducted his own synthesis of thinking
within the Navy. As the outline of the first revision of the Maritime
Strategy, Swartz chose the Pacific Command Campaign Plan developed
under Admiral Robert Long, CINCPAC. This plan was consistent with
Hayward's Sea Strike study and with the first version of the Maritime
Strategy. Swartz briefed the draft strategy extensively, some 75 times,
before various audiences before the CNO signed the final version in May
1984. Nearly every one of these briefings led to further modifications or
clarifications of the strategy.
In the summer of 1984, the Navy distributed the Maritime Strategy
widely in a classified version to educate naval officers. Finally, in January
1986, an unclassified version of the strategy was published in a special
supplement to the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.
OBJECTIVES, ASSUMPTIONS, AND CONSTRAINTS
These three cases are quite distinct in some senses. For example, the
process in the long-range planning system is highly bureaucratized and
formalized, while the Sea Plan 2000 process was completely ad hoc; the
Maritime Strategy falls somewhere in the middle. The formal system deals
primarily with force structure, while the Maritime Strategy deals,
ostensibly, with war-fighting. Nonetheless, the three efforts had similar
objectives, assumptions, and constraints.
The objectives of all three cases related in some manner to force
structure. The Navy uses the formal system to procure what it needs or
wants. Sea Plan 2000 was a clear attempt to influence budgetary decisions
over the short-term by emphasizing their long-term effects.
What was the purpose of the Maritime Strategy? Perhaps the most
appropriate response is, "Which Maritime Strategy?" The Maritime
Strategy has come to signify many things to many people. William Lind
contends that, depending on the source, the essence of the Maritime
Strategy may be: (1) headlong attack by carrier forces against the Kola
Peninsula, (2) the concept of horizontal escalation, (3) or merely an
offensive orientation with specific targets left up to the CINCs (Ref. 12:p.
54). To this list one could add an emphasis on a strategic ASW campaign
and, perhaps, even on amphibious landing. In any case, a primary
objective for developing the Maritime Strategy was to provide coherent
direction within the Navy for making budgetary decisions. Some have
contended that the document has become a tool for each of the Navy's
"barons" to rationalize his own procurement plan. While this may carry
some truth, the Maritime Strategy defies simple description. It has been
used to seek various objectives: to bring coherence to the budget process, to
define how to win a conventional war with the Soviets, to educate naval
officers, as a declaratory strategy to enhance deterrence, and, yes, as a tool
for advocating large Navy budgets.
There are several common assumptions that have been made in the
planning process. First, all three processes start from the assumption that
the nation needs a navy, and that naval forces have the best capabilities for
fulfilling certain types of strategic requirements. No attempt is made to
examine whether land-based aircraft or airborne troops, for example,
could better fulfill these missions.
Similarly, all three processes have generally assumed that the present
force structure, in configuration, is the most appropriate for fulfilling
strategic objectives. Moreover, there is a disturbing consistency in the
number of forces that these processes recommended. Before Sea Plan
2000, the Navy claimed it needed 600 ships including 15 carriers. The
optimal fleet suggested by Sea Plan consisted of 15 carriers and 586 active
ships. In the era of the Maritime Strategy, of course, the Navy has
continued to lobby for 15 carriers and 600 ships, this is remarkable
consistency over a 15 year period.
A third assumption has been that any future war would be
conventional and protracted. There is almost no discussion of short
conventional conflict or nuclear war at sea in either Sea Plan or the
Finally, the Navy has assumed, especially in the cases of the PPBS
system and the Maritime Strategy, that a long-range planning process that
plans by attempting to achieve consensus is the most effective mode of
planning, or at least the most effective mode feasible in the Department of
The first constraint placed on the planners was that their work had to
directly impact the budgetary process. With the possible exception of the
SSG, all planners were under pressure to produce documents that were
relevant to the POM process and that were published in time to impact the
POM. Fiscal constraints are exacerbated by the high and rising costs of
naval platforms and technology. As the budget grows tighter, the range of
options for planners dwindles. Moreover, while the long lead-times and
service lives of naval platforms would seem to mandate a truly long-term
planning horizon, the POM process focuses the Navy's attention on, at best,
a 5 to 10 year horizon.
Second, the necessity of reaching consensus within the Navy and
working with present force structure has hindered innovative planning.
The realities of shared power among groups with vested interests in
specific platforms stifles experimentation with radical new force structures
or concepts. When the budget is tight, the programs with an established
power base tend to survive, and newer, innovative programs tend to suffer.
Time available to the individual for long-range planning is another
barrier. Strategic planning requires coherent imaginative thought that
cannot be produced in a hurried atmosphere, such as that of the OPNAV
staff. Two few planners have the opportunity for this sort of
Finally, the lack of national guidance constrains effective naval
planning. Generally, military planners have received inadequate guidance
on what political-military situations to consider and on the objectives to be
sought in war. This lack of guidance makes any sort of planning subject to
parochialism and inadequate political insight of the scenario in which
forces might be used.
The success of these three planning attempts is mixed. While the
Navy was quite successful at using the PPBS to achieve desired
procurement decisions in the 1980s, the 1970s were lean years. Moreover,
the planning in the PPBS is hardly "strategic." The five year horizon is
simply too short when one considers that, for a ship, the span from concept
development to end of service life can be over 40 years. Furthermore, the
POM and the FYDP tend to exhibit a "bow wave effect." When programs
are not approved for the fiscal year under question they are normally
delayed. As time goes on, more and more programs are delayed into the
"out years." Often this results in the later years of the FYDP exhibiting no
appreciation of fiscal realities.
The long-range planning system is more difficult to comment on.
OP-OOK's charter is to advise the CNO. Nonetheless, it would seem
important for this organization to promote discussion of the concepts and
strategies that will be important in the future-to educate naval officers and
to benefit from the ideas derived from promoting dialogue. OPNAV
Instruction 5000, "Long Range Planning"— does little more than list several
long-term plans that should be generated for various mission areas
(conventional strike warfare, anti-surface warfare, AAW, ASWQ, etc.)
(Ref 4: p. 1).
This relative silence of OP-OOK in the strategic debates of the Navy
is perplexing. This silence is not an indication of ineffectiveness, however;
it is intentional. The group advises only the CNO and the CEP in order to
insulate itself from the bureaucratic infighting that might occur should they
support measures that might impinge on the "turf' of one of the Navy's
power brokers. If the group has unimpeded access to the CNO, and he uses
their briefings to shape today's decisions with a view toward their long-
term effects, OP-OOK may be doing exactly what strategic planners are
supposed to do. Any conclusion as to whether this is the case, however,
would have to come from the CNO himself.
Sea Plan 2000, again, has had mixed results. Over the short-term the
document was seen as a highly political response to the Carter
Administration's call for a smaller Navy. Moreover, its publication
coincided with revelations of cost-overruns in shipbuilding. Thus, the
panel produced few immediate results. If one looks at longer-term success,
however, Sea Plan may be judged more favorably. The events of the last
two years of the Carter administration confirmed the relevance of naval
forces and led to a distinct buildup in naval forces that lasted through the
first term of the Regan administration. Moreover, Sea Plan 2000 was an
important doctrinal foundation for the Maritime Strategy. In this regard,
one could conclude that the Navy has institutionalized the findings of the
Sea Plan panel.
It appears too early to comment on the success of the Maritime
Strategy over the long term. In the short-term, however, it should be
considered moderately successful. It has unified the Navy, created an
esprit de corps, promoted strategic thinking, and has been important to the
Navy's legislative success during the 1980' s. Whether the strategy has
provided coherence to Navy budgets, however, is arguable. Moreover, the
strategy has to some extent wedded the Navy's force structure to a specific
scenario: global conventional war with the Soviet Union centered on the
Central Front. Should the Soviets significantly reduce their forces in
Central Europe, as their leaders have promised, the Navy will have to
rapidly rethink its legislative strategy. This retrenchment would inevitably
lead to charges that the Navy is merely trying to protect its own "turf and
build ships that the nation does not need. Should this occur, the Maritime
Strategy could come to haunt the Navy's leadership.
In general, the Navy's success with strategic planning in these three
cases has been marginal. Major General Perry Smith, USAF (Ret.)
suggests that there are fifteen "laws" of successful strategic planning (Ref.
13:pp. 14-22). Let us examine a few of these laws, and a few added by the
author, to determine the reason for the successes and failures of Navy
First, Smith contends that planners must be able to explain to policy-
makers the benefits of long-range planning, then get and maintain the
support of these officials. The leaders of the Navy commissioned both Sea
Plan and the Maritime Strategy. But, if one looks at the history of
institutionalized long-range planning, clearly the Navy, as a whole, has not
come to appreciate the process. Offices like OP-93 and OP-00X have had
little influence and were short-lived. One must ask the question of
whether OP-OOK does not face a similar fate.
Second, Smith maintains that long-range planners must have direct
access to decision makers and not have to coordinate their positions with
other offices. While it appears that Sea Plan 2000 was formulated under
such conditions, the PPBS certainly does not conform to this criteria. Nor
does the Maritime Strategy. In this case, even the independent SSG went
out of their way to coordinate their product with the power brokers in the
Navy. On the other hand, OP-OOK has just such a charter. Whether the
actualities conform with this charter is a matter of conjecture, however.
Next, the long-range planning process must lead to some decisions in
the short-term in order to prove its value. In all three cases, the emphasis
was to provide short-term budgetary impact.This aspect, no doubt,
contributed to the quick adoption of Sea Plan and the Maritime Strategy by
Smith also contends that successful strategic planning processes must
be institutionalized. The fits and starts of planning in the Navy show that
this has not been the case. OP-OOK, however, is in place today and, with
luck, may become an institutionalized center for strategic planning in the
Finally, Smith contends that planners must avoid excessive
constraints. While the planner needs budgetary, technological, and
temporal constraints to make planning realistic, constraints on force
structure and size, for example, may inhibit imaginative thinking. In all
three cases, the planners assumed that future force structure would remain
consistent with present force structure. Moreover, all three processes have
resulted in a consistent Navy position advocating a 15 carrier, 600 ship
force. One must wonder if the size of the Navy, too, was assumed at the
beginning of each study.
Additional elements of strategic planning, not addressed by Smith,
seem essential for the Navy. First, strategic planning, if it is to be widely
disseminated, needs to consider the political milieu. Sea Plan 2000 was
released at a most inopportune time, and as such, was seen as a self-serving,
bureaucratic attempt by the Navy to increase its budget.
Second, Naval forces have a tremendous advantage over air and
ground forces in terms of flexibility. For this reason, it is advantageous to
the Navy to focus on capabilities~as was the case in Sea Plan— rather than
scenarios— as in the Maritime Strategy. Tying force structure to a specific
scenario leaves the Navy in the lurch should that scenario suddenly become
highly unlikely. Instead the Navy should emphasize its utility over a broad
range of possible combat and peacetime operations.
Finally, it is valuable to look at what strategic planning ought to be,
to see if the Navy does strategic planning at all. First, strategic planning
should be long-range-10 to 25 years into the future. The PPBS is
inadequate in this regard, of course. The Maritime Strategy, too, focuses
on the present and near-term future. Even Sea Plan 2000, while ostensibly
looking forward more than 20 years, assumed force structures and
strategies of both sides would not change over those twenty years. This
makes one wonder if Sea Plan was really concerned with long-range issues
or merely trying to effect short-term budgetary decisions.
Strategic planning should also serve an integrative function— to
ensure all the disparate parts of a large organization like the Navy are
moving in the same direction. While PPBS, the Maritime Strategy, and Sea
Plan all produced documents to which the various "unions" in the Navy
eventually agreed, this does not necessarily constitute integration.
Integration should take different ideas and form them into a coherent
overall concept or strategy. What we see in all three cases is a satisfying,
"lowest common denominator" outcome. While the various parts of
strategy should have a synergistic effect, in these cases it appears the whole
is less than the sum of the parts. For example, by failing to devote
adequate attention to mine warfare, should war come our powerful surface
and subsurface forces could be largely sunk or struck in port. Conversely,
diverting some of the resources now allocated for aircraft carriers to mine
warfare, might permit the Navy to get more aircraft carriers into the fight.
Next, strategic planning ought to be broad and, at least in part,
conceptual. The Navy's efforts, however, have dealt almost exclusively
with force structure issues. Even the Maritime Strategy, which discussed
war-fighting, sought not so much to find a better way for the Navy as to
inject some rationality into the procurement process.
Finally, strategic planning ought to be visionary. The sense that one
gets from all three processes is that naval warfare will not have changed
much 25 years after the study. This is akin to saying that naval warfare in
1964 (when the Soviets had just been embarrassed in the Cuban missile
crisis by a dearth of naval forces and had only a few primitive cruise
missiles) would be very similar to naval warfare in 1989. Given the
changes in the last 25 years, could this possibly be true?
This paper has not presented the strategic planning efforts of the
Navy in a favorable light. What should be obvious at this point, however,
is that the lack of strategic planning is not necessarily the Navy's fault. A
system of shared power operating on short-term budgetary decisions is
simply not well-equipped to perform centralized, long-term planning.
The solution to the Navy's strategic planning problem, then, would be to
change the system. But, the price America pays for a less efficient
military is small in terms of the benefits the system promotes, thus,
systemic change simply is not an option.
While the prospects for excellent strategic planning in the Navy seem
poor, one should not conclude the Navy cannot make marginal
improvements. The improvement will not come, however, from the PPBS.
This system promotes an attitude and an atmosphere that stifles truly
strategic planning. Occasional ad hoc studies like Sea Plan 2000 would
certainly play a critical role in an improved Navy strategic planning
system, but the bulk of the work must be done by an institutionalized group
like OP-OOK. As discussed, the track record of OP-OOK is not clear.
There is no reason, however, that OP-OOK and the SSG cannot provide the
same type of guidance to the Navy that the Navy General Board did in the
first half of the century. The determinant of whether this might come
about, however, is the attitude of the Navy's leadership. If the leaders
empower these groups to perform innovative, truly strategic planning,
there is no reason that the track record of the General Board cannot be
1. Riggle, Gordon G., "Looking to the Long Run," U.S. Naval Institute
Proceedings, September 1980, pp. 60-65. A succinct and critical overview
of Navy long-range planning. The author recommends ways to better
utilize the Navy's Long Range Planning Group.
2. The Maritime Balance Study—The Navy Strategic Planning
Experiment, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 1979. This study
analyzes the applicability of corporate strategic planning to the Navy and
endorses the adaptation of some applicable aspects. The study stresses the
need to develop definite objectives and to establish a strategy based on
output services rendered, rather than on force composition. It emphasizes
the need to prioritize and plan according to these priorities, recognizing
both capabilities to accomplish essential tasks and inability to achieve
others. Several appendices are attached, including an excellent history of
long-range planning in the Navy.
3. Bruins, Berend D., "Should Naval Officers Be Strategists?" U.S.
Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1982, pp. 52-56. This article discusses
strategic thought in the Navy concluding that the Navy needs strategists and
that such strategists must come from within the service, not from civilian
"think tanks." The author reviews planning in the Navy and recommends
improvements. A major point in the article is that time is needed for
strategists to be trained and to apply their training.
4. "Long Range Planning," OPNAV Instruction 5000, Office of the
Chief of Naval Operations, 24 March 1988. This document discusses gaps
in Navy long-range planning and discusses measures designed to integrate
and improve planning.
5. U.S. Navy First Annual Long Range Planners' Conference, U.S.
Naval Academy, 1985. A review of the proceedings and selected articles
from the conference. The articles offer an overview of Navy planning and
its place within the Department of Defense. Discussion includes new
initiatives for planning innovation and technological integration. The role
of the Maritime Strategy in long-range planning is reviewed.6. Stavridis,
James G., LCDR, USN, of CNO Executive Panel (OP-OOK), Telephone
interview with LT Pelkofski, 16 May 1988.
7. OP-OOK CNO Executive Panel Staff Navy Long Range Planner,
Photocopied notes from slide presentation, Developed by CNO Executive
Plan, (OP-OOK), 1988. The slide program presents an overview of the
mission of OP-OOK and the CEP. In addition, the long-range planning in
the Navy and recent events and topics of planning interest are reviewed.
8. Brement, Marshal, of the Strategic Studies Group, Naval War
College, Telephone Interview with LT Pelkofski, 16 May 1988.
9. Simpson, Mike of the Strategic Concepts Group (OP-603),
Telephone interview with LT Pelkofski, 16 May 1988.
10. Sea Plan 2000 Naval Force Planning Study-Unclassified Executive
Summary, United States Navy, 1987. A summary of the key findings of the
classified study. Presents relationship between naval missions and national
security objectives. Develops three planning options of 1%, 3% , and 4%
growth rates. Advocates keeping the current balance of capabilities within
11. Hattendorf, John B., "The Evolution of the Maritime Strategy: 1977
to 1987, "U.S. Naval War College Review, Summer 1988, pp. 7-28. A
fascinating history of the development of the Maritime Strategy, based
largely on Hattendorf s discussions with the principals of the development
process. The article is generally supportive of both the process and the
12. Lind, William S., "Maritime Strategy 1988: Bad Strategy?" U.S.
Naval Institute Proceedngs, February 1988, pp. 54-61. A criticism of the
Maritime Strategy. Claims that it is not actually a maritime strategy at all,
but the maritime component of a continental strategy. Moreover, Lind
claims, the strategy is so poorly defined that it serves little purpose.
13. Smith, Perry M., MGEN, USAF (Ret.), et al, Creating Strategic
Vision: Long-Range Planning for National Security, National Defense
University Press, 1987. A must book for strategic planners, this work
discusses the problems and processes of strategic planning from the
viewpoint of successful planners.
14. The Maritime Balance Study-Trie Navy Strategic Planning
Experiment— Executive Summary. Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations, 1979. A summary of the study discussed above that provides
sufficient detail on the cell model and highlights conclusions of the study.
15. Davis, The Politics of Innovative Patterns in Navy Cases, University
of Denver, 1967. This booklet discusses behavioral characteristics in large
organizations, focusing on the Navy. Three case studies are reviewed (the
development of a nuclear weapon delivery capability for carrier aircraft,
the development of nuclear propulsion, and the development of fleet
ballistic missiles). The work is an attempt to identify a patten of behavior
characteristic to the Navy. The conclusion is that the Navy tends to engage
in intra-service bureaucratic battles. The findings are generally superficial
16. A Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic
Planning and the Maritime Balance: An Experiment, Office of the Under
Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, November 1979. This
report reviews the Defense Science Board's findings on The Maritime
Balance Study. The report supplements the study with pertinent
recommendations for long-range planning in the Navy and for integrated
planning in DoD. The report points out the limits and advantages of a
business approach to military strategic planning.
17. Friedman, Norman, "The Maritime Strategy and the Design of the
U.S. Fleet," Comparative Strategy, No. 6 1987, pp. 415-435. The author
argues the merits of the Maritime Strategy for force-planning and naval
thinking. Although Friedman acknowledges the controversy surrounding
the Maritime Strategy, he defends the strategy over alternative systems of
force-planning. A major advantage of the Maritime Strategy, according to
Friedman, is its basis of interactive analysis and its inherent flexibility.
18. George, James L., et al, Review of USN Long-Range Planning,
Center for Naval Analysis, 1985. This research memorandum surveys the
present and past aspects and offices involved in Navy long-range planning.
In addition, a review of the various plans that resulted from these processes
is included. Appendices include a history of long-range planning in the
Navy, excerpted from The Maritime Balance Study, and summaries of
current Navy long-range planning and the influence of corporate planning
methods. Although suggestions are offered to improve the Navy's
approach, the study strongly implies the present system is adequate.
19. West, Francis, J., "Planning for the Navy's Future," U.S. Naval Institute
Proceedings, October 1979, pp. 26-33, and "A Fleet for the Year 2000,"
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, May 1980 pp. 66-81. Essays by the head
of the Sea Plan 2000 panel. Summarizes the key findings of the study,
especially concerning naval missions and forces.
20. Hessman, James D., "Sea Plan 2000," Sea Power, May 1978, pp. 26-
28. An overview of the Executive Summary and synopsis of the debate
between the use of set-piece scenarios versus flexible capabilities as a guide
21. Prina, Edgar L., "Navy/DoD Differences Aired as Fy '79 Defense
Debate Continues," Sea Power, May 1978, pp. 29-32. More on the debate
between the use of set-piece scenarios versus flexible capabilities as a guide
22. Woolsey, R. James, "Planning a Navy: The Risks of Conventional
Wisdom," International Security, Summer 1978, pp. 17-29. An excellent
article on the shortcomings of quantitative policy analysis, set-piece
scenarios, and conventional wisdom as a guide to planning. Does not
specifically mention Sea Plan 2000 or the OSD position, but the timing and
the author's position make it clear that he had the Sea Plan in mind.
23. "Professional Notes," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, June 1978,
pp. 121-126. A summary of the notable newspaper articles dealing with the
release of Sea Plan 2000 and its subsequent reception in defense circles.
24. Etzold, Thomas H., "The Navy and National Security Planning in the
1970s," in Harry E. Borowski's Military Planning in the Twentieth
Century, USAF Office of History, 1986. The author argues that Navy
planning failures in the 1970s were a result of three factors: (1) divergent
assumptions between the Navy and other national security decision-makers,
(2) reliance on a theory of sea power that had become less effective than
supposed, and (3) over-reliance on scenario-building to rationalize force
1. This paper is in part a distillation and compilation by LT Green of
separate papers by LT Pelkofski and LT Hafey.
2. The term strategic planning is used here to mean long-range
planning. The terms will be used interchangeably throughout the paper.
3. This section is largely based on Ref. 10.
4. his section is largely based on Ref. 11.
LT David A. Hildrebrand, USN
LT Tricia Vislay, USN
During the 1960s, the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA) was a management system with a mission.
In order to overcome tremendous technological obstacles in a relatively
short period of time, NASA successfully integrated a multitude of
subsystems into a single master system. This single "super-system" was
designed to accomplish one unique goal: to put a man on the moon and then
bring him safely back to earth.
NASA was able to accomplish this ambitious goal only eight years
after it was announced by President John Kennedy. The achievement was
due in large part to the flexible system of management created by NASA's
initial administrators. The management system had its drawbacks,
however, it impacted negatively on NASA's ability to chart its future
course. This paper explores the influence of NASA's decentralized
management structure on the organization's ability to conduct long-range
planning during the course of the Apollo program from 1961 through 1968.
The circumstances under which NASA was created greatly affected
the agency's identity throughout its "formative" years. The Soviet Union
had launched Sputnik I in November, 1957, and President Eisenhower felt
obliged to respond. The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958
established NASA to help counter the perceived threat to national security
represented by the Soviet feat. The U.S. had had its national pride
offended, and many feared that the nation had fallen irretrievably behind in
the "space race." Both Congress and the American public demanded that
something be done quickly to rectify the situation. 1
The Eisenhower Administration's response was swift, but proposed
legislation did not meet with the full approval of a cadre of defense-minded
Congressmen. In particular, Eisenhower's plan to give civilians full
control of the new space agency led to concerns that he was not taking the
threat to U.S. security seriously enough. 2 The nucleus of the new agency's
management was to come from the organization that NASA had replaced,
the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and critics felt that
these administrators were too conservative to lead the nation in its quest to
best the Soviets in space. 3 Eisenhower managed to prevail, however, and
civilians took charge of the entire U.S. space effort, with the exception of
programs directly related to weapons development or military operations. 4
During the first three years of NASA's existence, there was a great
deal of disagreement between the executive and legislative branches of
government as to the level of effort the U.S. should exert in space. NASA
submitted its first ten-year plan in 1960; it called for "an expanding
program on a broad front," and included manned flight, first orbital and
then circumlunar; scientific satellites to measure radiation and other
features of the near-space environment; lunar probes to measure the lunar
space environment and to photograph the moon; planetary probes to
measure and to photograph Mars and Venus; weather satellites; continued
aeronautical research; and development of larger launch vehicles for lifting
heavier payloads.5 The President attacked this ambitious program as too
expensive, while Congress felt it was much too limited. 6 Until the end of
Eisenhower's term in January, 1961, Congress attempted to pour more
money into the space effort, but the President, more concerned about the
nation's budget and in possession of more accurate intelligence information
about Soviet capabilities - thanks to U-2 overflights - refused to agree to
increase appropriations to the agency.
When the new president, John Kennedy took office early in 1961, he
found that the political climate favored his desire to lead the U.S. into
space. Three months after his inauguration, Kennedy ordered Vice
President Lyndon Johnson to conduct a survey of the U.S. space program.
Leading off Kennedy's tasking memo were questions:
"Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets by putting a laboratory
in space, or by a trip around the moon, or by a rocket to land on the moon,
or by a rocket to go to the moon and back with a man? Is there any other
space program which promises dramatic results in which we could win?"7
The goal Kennedy was looking for materialized as the Apollo
program. The lunar landing mission and manned spaceflight programs
necessary to prepare for it became the "dominant activity within the
agency" almost overnight. 8 Support for Apollo, from the president,
Congress and the American public was nearly unanimous. NASA had been
given its mandate to put a man on the moon.
NASA's management structure weathered almost constant change
through the 1960's. This was due in large part to the conscious efforts of
NASA's Administrator, James E. Webb, who headed the agency from 1961
to 1968. Webb tried to maintain a state of "desired disequilibrium," in
order "to avoid those concepts and practices that would result in so much
organizational stability that maneuverability would be lost."9 As a result,
any attempt to describe NASA management during this period must be
either very lengthy or very general. The following discussion focuses on
major characteristics which remained stable for much of the 1960s.
During the agency's early years, NASA's field centers reported to
Headquarters program directors rather than to general management. This
tended to create a gulf between the field centers and Headquarters, and the
program directors tended to be more narrowly focused than the multi-
purpose field centers. In 1961 a reorganization placed the field centers
directly under the Associate Administrator. This change proved to be
unworkable: not only did it place an extremely heavy workload on the
Associate Administrator, it also undermined the authority of Headquarters
program directors and resulted in a "free-for-all" between the field centers
and Headquarters. 10
After 1963, NASA settled into the organizational structure that was
fairly well sustained for the remainder of the decade. Management was
highly decentralized, and most of the responsibility for day-to-day
operations rested with field centers. 1 1 Lead centers were responsible for
managing projects, or NASA's "output." Since a project could include
several subsystems appropriate for action by other centers, the lead center
for that project had authority to coordinate with these other centers without
consulting NASA headquarters. 12
Three program offices- Manned Space Flight, Space Sciences and
Applications, and Advanced Research and Technology - were responsible
for ensuring that the field centers did not abuse their autonomy and pursue
tangential agendas. In order to accomplish this, field centers were required
to adhere to a set of uniform organizational procedures, and allocation of
resources to the field centers was controlled. Field center activities were
reviewed, although this frequently occurred after the fact. Finally, a
system of checks and balances prevented any single program office from
predominating over the others. 1 3 The philosophy that Webb tried to
instill throughout NASA was "management by exception," so that "higher
levels of management were called on for decisions only when something
extraordinary occurred in the process of executing approved projects." 14
Given this decentralized management structure and the disparity
among the functions and sizes of the program offices, it is not surprising
that each office developed its own unique approach to planning, although
there were some similarities. For instance, most of the planning conducted
by the planning offices was "intermediate-range planning," for programs
with lead times of about five to seven years. This planning process
included formulation of proposals for new projects; review, approval, and
resource allocation for implementation of the proposals; monitoring of
progress; and readjusting goals and allocations as necessary. 15 'The tool
used by senior management to control the process was the Phased Project
Planning (PPP) system. PPP was formally adopted in 1965 by means of a
policy directive which essentially ratified what was already being done. 16
PPP was intended to force rational evaluation of a project, since it
required cost/benefit comparisons at specific phases of project
development: during advanced studies, in project definition, through
project design, and during project development and operations. 17 Project
Approval Documents, or PADs, were also part of the intermediate-range
planning process. PADs had to be signed by NASA's administrator before
work could begin on a given phase; a PAD was required for each phase.
PADs were reviewed annually and updated when necessary. 18
Throughout NASA's early years, long-range planning within NASA
was nominally the responsibility of the Office of Plans and Program
Evaluation, which reported directly to the Administrator. When this office
was dissolved in 1963, it was replaced by two separate bodies: the Policy
Planning Board, which reported to the Administrator, and the Planning,
Review Panel which reported to the Associate Administrator. The Policy
Planning Board was itself eliminated in 1965, and from then on agency-
wide long-range planning was conducted primarily by ad hoc study groups
and advisory panels composed of representatives from the external
scientific community. 19 There was never a formal connection between
long-range planning and PPP or budgeting. 20
NASA operated under three major constraints during the 1960s,
each of which had an impact on the agency's ability to plan, particularly
over the long term. The first constraint was the restriction on civil service
salaries. The import of this constraint is highlighted by the constant efforts
of top NASA management to persuade the Civil Service Commission to
increase the number of positions within NASA that were subject to less
stringent salary limits. These efforts were not entirely successful; NASA's
ability to entice personnel with handsome paychecks was therefore often
subject to Congressional control. 21 While NASA was not truly crippled
by this constraint, the agency did have to offer some type of reward other
than financial compensation to acquire and retain the scientists and
engineers it required. This affected the agency's ability to plan.
A second , related constraint was innate to NASA's workforce. One-
third to two-fifths of NASA employees were scientists or engineers. 22 The
engineers, especially, were among the best in the country. 23 while this
was obviously to NASA's advantage in some ways, it introduced some
complications into the planning process. The typical NASA scientist or
engineer got job satisfaction from working on projects he found
interesting. As professionals at or near the cutting edge of their fields,
they could have very definite ideas about what those projects should be.
Because of the nature of its mission, NASA believed that the ability to
attract some of the"best and brightest" was mandatory. In order to do this,
NASA had to guarantee a certain amount of scientific freedom. Long-
range planning could be interpreted as an impediment to pursuit of
The third constraint was inherent in the demands of the Apollo
schedule. NASA had originally estimated that it would be able to put a
man on the moon by about 1971; Kennedy insisted that this goal be met not
later than 1968. 24 All of the field centers and program offices would be
involved in the Apollo project. 25 it wa s necessary to ensure that good
working relationships existed among all of these entities. One of
Administrator Webb's concerns was that a fixed long-range plan would
alienate some of the program offices and field centers, each of which had
its own ideas about the course the U.S. space program should pursue. 26
The disparate professional opinions about the goal toward which the agency
should work would eventually adversely influence the agency's ability to
complete the Apollo project on time.
The Apollo program produced a curious combination of impressive
success and long-term problems for NASA. In 1963, the agency settled into
a decentralized system of management, similar to that which had existed
prior to November, 1961, so that field centers were subordinated to
program offices. The more centralized arrangement the agency had used
during the interim, when field centers reported directly to the Associate
Administrator, had been intended in part to gain firmer control of the
centers. 27 The 1961 reorganization had resulted in internal confusion, so
that center directors and program officers were unsure of their roles.28
Because NASA had to keep the Apollo program on track, it was unwilling
to devote the time that may have been necessary to allow people to become
accustomed to this new system.
By September, 1962, the manned spaceflight program had reached
impasses and delays at the Associate Administrator level, and informal
coordination at lower levels was not functioning properly. As a result, the
position of Deputy Associate Administrator for Manned Space Right
Centers was established; the Director of the Manned Space Flight Program
Office assumed this position in addition to his original directorship. In
effect, this removed three field centers from the Associate Administrator's
control, and placed them under a program director, thus again injecting
decentralization into the system. In 1963, the entire NASA organization
was restructured once more, and adopted a system similar to that used
prior to November, 1961. 29
The attempt to centralize control of NASA programs did not last
long enough to succeed. Although NASA's Associate Administrator later
claimed that the 1961 reorganization was not intended to be permanent, the
factors that led NASA to revert to its more comfortable decentralization
were compelling at the time: the confusion over formal lines of authority,
the breakdown of informal cooperation, and the pressure of externally
imposed deadlines. 30 NASA was able to turn the less-controlled
management system to its advantage, and used such a system to put a man
on the moon. Whether the centralized system could have likewise met that
goal is unknown. Informal lines of communication have always played a
major role within NASA; the success of a centralized system would have
depended to some extent upon whether or not the informal system could
mesh with it.
The system worked well because it had a well-defined goal, the
formal management structure was flexible enough to adapt itself to the
decentralization, and the informal liaison network was resilient enough to
survive reorganization attempts. Decentralization certainly did not detract
from NASA's achievement of its mission. The Apollo project undoubtedly
caused the agency to hesitate to commit to a more controlled structure;
NASA was apparently unwilling to impose strictures that impeded its
number one program.
Because of its decentralization, NASA Headquarters took on a
reactive rather than proactive role, and responded to initiatives that
originated in the field. Headquarter's function was to allocate resources,
monitor progress, and assess results, not to initiate new projects. The
entire manned space flight effort was working toward a single major goal
at the time, and proposals from field centers promoted that goal. The
other two program areas, however, lacked coherent goals. Both the Space
Sciences and Applications and the Advanced Research and Technology
efforts had little focus. Although this lack of focus might have been
inherent in the nature of these efforts, Headquarters had no mechanism to
enforce a unifying mission on them. In fact Headquarters did not seem to
consider it necessary to do so, perhaps in part to preserve scientific
freedom and avoid internal discord. Furthermore, after the Apollo
program, a lack of internal agreement also manifested itself within the
Manned Space Flight office. 31
NASA during the 1960s failed miserably at long-range planning. It
had established no internal procedures or organizational structures capable
of translating long-range plans into intermediate-range programs. Within
the agency, long-range planners reported to the Administrator, while field
centers initiated proposals for new projects. Seldom did the two factions
meet on common ground.
The absence of a formal mechanism for turning plans into programs
was a symptom of Administrator Webb's disbelief in long-range planning.
"He would not commit himself publicly to new programs where costs were
unpredictable, Congressional approval uncertain, the likelihood of changes
ever-present, and the program offices themselves deeply divided over long-
range plans," notes one observer.32 One might argue that the first three
of these factors are inherent in all attempts at long-range planning; the real
problem was Webb's inability or unwillingness to impose a unifying vision
on the program offices.
As long as NASA had a popular, externally imposed goal to work
toward, the agency functioned admirably. In 1965, however, with Apollo
well on its way to realization, "there was almost no agreement within
NASA as to what should follow the lunar landing. "33 Apollo had unified
NASA: attempting to plan beyond Apollo threatened to divide the agency.
NASA had become a bureaucracy, and plans for the future inevitably
threatened various bureaucratic interests. Once man had reached the
moon, there were arguments that future space research could be conducted
at least as well with unmanned probes; this would have necessitated a shift
in the balance of power among the program offices - something which
Manned Space Right would certainly resist.
As suggested above, the long-range planning that was actually
conducted at NASA occurred in its field centers, with occasional input
from outside task forces and panels. The field centers contributed
advanced studies to develop a very broad range of missions: "flight
missions beyond those currently approved, or studies of as yet unapproved
spacecraft, launch vehicle or aircraft systems that may lead toward such
future flight missions or studies leading to significant changes on an
already approved configuration of spacecraft and launch vehicles. "34
NASA Headquarters exercised limited authority over these studies with
PADs, and consequently contented itself with merely passing judgment on
the initiative of others. Politics also impeded NASA's ability to study
future alternatives: approved studies were sometimes assumed by Congress
to be approved programs, and they were therefor politically sensitive.35
Although NASA was also permitted to seek advice from outside
agencies, there was no formal requirement for it to do so. The advisory
process was "unpatterned and unsystematic." Scientists from outside NASA
often demanded more control over NASA's science policy, something
which Administrator Webb was unwilling to surrender.36
In summary, a variety of problems led NASA to avoid true long-
range planning. James Webb did not believe in long-range planning for his
agency; he presumed that the agency's future would be determined by
political considerations. He may have been correct, but there was little he
could do to control such a factor. Perhaps long-range planning was beyond
the scope of NASA's mission in the 1960s: if one of the first steps in the
planning process is to define the characteristics and trends of the
environment, one might accept that this was NASA's primary responsibility
through its early years. NASA in the 1960s had to conduct exploration to
define the environment in space, so the next generation could plan the
exploitation of space. In such an endeavor, the choice of goals is logically
a product of external politics; there can be no rational cost/benefit
evaluations if both costs and benefits have yet to be determined.
Anderson, Frank W., Jr., Orders of Magnitude (Washington, DC: National
Aeronautics and Space Administration,1981). Very well written short
history of the U.S. space program from 1915 on. Includes a multitude of
interesting details. Indexed, with bibliography and photographs.
Anna, Henry J., Task Groups and Linkages in Complex Organizations: A
Case Study of NASA (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1976). Examines
various subgroups within NASA field centers and their interactions.
References, but no index.
Chapman, Richard L. Project Management in NASA: The System and the
Man (Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
1973). Describes project and program management, with a chapter tracing
the evolution of a sample project. Includes lengthy description of the
personal attributes of managers. References and bibliography, but no
Hirsch, Richard, and John Joseph Trento, The National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (New York: Praeger, 1973). Interesting general
history of NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee on
Aeronautics. Well-written chronicle of the U.S. space program that
includes many side trips into such areas as derivative applications of
technologies developed by NASA. Indexed, with bibliography and three
appendices that discuss NASA careers and international activities, and list
all manned spaceflights through July, 1971.
Kloman, Erasmus, NASA, the Vision and the Reality (National Academy of
Public Administration, 1985). Describes the programmatic evolution of
NASA. Written by an insider; somewhat biased in favor of the agency. No
Levine, Arnold S., Managing NASA in the Apollo Era (Washington, DC:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1982). Description and
analysis of NASA's administrative organization. Detailed accounts of
transitions in management structures; contains chapters on the functions of
NASA Headquarters, the acquisition process, manpower policy, program
planning and authorization, NASA-Department of Defense relations, long-
range planning and the budgetary process. Indexed, with appendices and
Rosholt, Robert L., An Administrative History of NASA 1958-1963
(Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1966).
Extremely detailed but readable account of NASA's early planning and
management systems. Written with NASA's cooperation; the writer's
access to information and documentation is obvious. Contains reprint of
the National Aeronautics and Space Act, organizational charts, extensive
bibliography and index.
Webb, James E., Space- Age Management: The Large-Scale Approach (New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1969). The "inside story." Since the author is a
former NASA administrator, fairly good source for the rationale behind
management system. Bibliography, but no index.
1. Ronald Hirsch and John Joseph Trento, The National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (New York: Praeger, 1973),
2. Ibid., pp. 19-20
3. Ibid., p. 19
4. Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA 1958-
1963 (Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
1966), p. 13.
5. Frank W> Anderson, Jr., Orders of Magnitude (Washington,
DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1981), p. 20.
6. Hirsch and Trento, pp. 36-37
7. Hirsch and Trento, p. 138.
8. Arnold S. Levine, Managing NASA in the Apollo Era
(Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1982),
9. James E. Webb, Space Age Management: The Large -Scale
Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969,), p. 6.
10. Erasmus H. Kloman, NSA: The Vision and the Reality
(National Academy of Public Administration, 1985), pp. 37-38.
11. Rosholt, p. 43.
12. Levine, pp. 43-45.
13. Levine, pp. 62-64.
4. Levine, p. 63.
15. Levine, p. 142.
16. Levine, p. 158.
17. Levine, p. 158-159.
18. Levine, p. 161.
19. Levine, pp. 242-262.
20. Levine, p. 241.
21. Levine, pp. 110-115.
22. Levine, p. 115.
23. Levine, p. 138.
24. Rosholt, p. 193.
25. Levine, p. 36.
26. Levine, p. 242.
27. Levine, p. 36.
28. Levine, p. 38.
29. Rosholt, p. 256.
30. Levine, p. 256.
31. Levine, p. 244.
32. Levine, p. 242.
33. Levine, p. 243.
34. Levine, p. 147.
35. Levine, p. 148.
36. Levine, p. 250.
THE 1987 AND 1988 NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIES
LT M.A. Jones, USN
LT F.F. Randolph, USN
In 1986 the Goldwater-Nichols Act was passed by Congress and
subsequently became known as Public Law 99-443. Section 603 of this law
requires the President to transmit to Congress each year a comprehensive
report on the U.S. national security strategy. Accordingly, the Reagan
Administration submitted two such reports, first in January 1987 and the
next in January 1988. To date the Bush administration has not formulated
a national security strategy although there are some elements of what may
become his national security strategy in a document entitled Building a
Better America dated 9 February 1989. For the purpose of this paper
however, general statements made by President Bush in that document will
not be included here.
While the intent of the Public Law 99-443 is to clarify the objectives
of the national security strategy, it is difficult to define the exact
importance of the two presidential documents of 1987 and 1988 with
respect to the actual employment of strategic options. At the very least, the
documents provide a framework around which specific strategies may be
more fully defined and implemented. But it also remains clear that the
national security strategy, as proposed by the President, remain general in
scope and rather generic in nature. Additionally, the two reports
considered here are replete with unnecessary rhetoric with regard to
general statements and devoid of specifics with regard to implementation.
In that respect, one might question how these documents add to what is
already available in other official Presidential documents and statements.
The documents are called "national security strategy reports," but
how "strategy" is meant to be understood is never made clear. It is
presumed here that strategy refers to the way in which the U.S. intends to
develop and apply its resources to accomplish its national and international
objectives. Additionally, there does not exist a classified version of these
same reports. Surely, this is an omission of great magnitude which
necessarily detracts from their relevance and usefulness. It is inconceivable
that any nation could publicly declare the exact nature of its security
strategy. One omission that appears in both reports is the lack of
prioritized national objectives. Surely not every objective is considered
"vital" to U.S. national security interests. Nor is there a range of choices
made clear on how best to achieve U.S. objectives. These are serious
omissions that call into question the amount of thought actually invested in
An additional element to be considered when questioning the
importance of these documents is that under the U.S. system of government
the President does not have the final say in setting U.S. strategy. On the
other hand, while the reports cannot speak for the nation, the President's
view of national strategy is very important since he is the nation's chief
executive and the commander-in-chief of the nation's military.
Another factor which tends to cloud the utility of the documents is
that they are issued at what is termed to be a "time of strategic transition."
The 1987 report states that the postwar era ended in the 1970s. During
that decade, the U.S. lost its position of global preeminence which it held at
the onset of the postwar era. However, neither the 1987 nor the 1988
report enumerates the characteristics of the new era except for the loss of
U.S. preeminence. Furthermore, both reports claim that the present U.S.
strategy is the same as that adopted at the beginning of the postwar era.
This claim creates a confusion: how can the U.S. maintain the same
strategy if the world environment has fundamentally changed?
This paper analyzes the 1987 and 1988 national security strategy
reports as examples of strategic management. After a review of the nature
of the system of management and of the key assumptions and constraints of
the reports, a discussion will be provided of the key elements of the present
U.S. strategy as outlined in both the 1987 and 1988 reports.
SYSTEM OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
Under the U.S. system of government, the ultimate responsibility for
national security rests upon the citizens themselves. The U.S. government
is merely the creation of the American people, instituted to secure their
unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The U.S.
Constitution thus embodies the form of government which the American
people have chosen to secure their rights.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the government's responsibility for
national security is divided between the President and Congress. The
President is the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the U.S.
military. The President has the power, by and with the consent of the
Senate, to make treaties and to appoint ambassadors and other public
officers. Balanced against this power of the President, the Congress has the
power to lay and collect taxes, to provide for the common defense, to
regulate commerce with foreign nations, to define and punish offenses
against the Law of Nations, to declare war, to raise and support armies, to
provide and maintain a Navy, to make rules for the government and
regulation of the land and naval forces, and to make all laws which are
necessary and proper for executing the powers vested in the federal
government by the Constitution. Under this system, the President and
Congress must cooperate in order to formulate and to implement U.S.
national security strategy.
The 1987 and 1988 National Security Strategy Reports recognize this
system of strategic management. The 1987 report states that:
The continued development and successful implementation of U.S.
National Security Strategy is a major responsibility of the Executive
Branch. But the Administration cannot accomplish this alone. Developing
and supporting a National Security Strategy for the United States that
provides a sound vision for the future and a realistic guide to action must
be a cooperative endeavor of the Congress and the Administration. (1987
report, p. 40)
The 1988 report reiterates this view (1988 report, p. 40).
The Constitution requires the President "from time to time to give
the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to
their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and
However, more than anything else, it is the federal budget which
forces the President and Congress to work together. Without money, the
President can achieve very little. To obtain money, the President must
convince Congress to raise the money and to allocate it to the desired
programs. The Goldwater-Nichols Act recognizes this reality and
specifically requires the President to submit the national security strategy
report on the same date on which the proposed budget is submitted.
Presumably, the report is intended to be a an explanation of the national
security aspects of the budget.
ASSUMPTIONS AND CONSTRAINTS
A. KEY ASSUMPTIONS IN THE REPORTS
On the cover page of the 1987 national security report, President
Reagan is reported as saying, "Freedom, peace and prosperity... that's what
America is all about, for ourselves, our friends, and those people across
the globe struggling for democracy." This concept of America's mission in
the world is the unifying theme of both the 1987 and 1988 reports.
The reports elaborate the meaning of the concepts of freedom, peace
and prosperity. Freedom is the ultimate value, because it seems to be the
best means of achieving everything else which is good. The 1987 report
confidently asserts that "if we are to achieve the kind of world we all hope
to see, democracy must continue to prosper and expand." (1987 report, p.
9) Peace is the result of a stable equilibrium of international forces. To
achieve peace, we must ensure that hostile states or groups of states are
deterred from seeking to dominate the Eurasian land mass (1988 report, p.
1), and that no power dares to initiate a nuclear war. (1987 report, p. 22;
1988 report, p. 15) Thus, peace requires strong U.S. conventional and
nuclear forces. Finally, prosperity is the result of a commitment to
capitalism and free trade. The 1987 national security strategy report
explains that "we believe that market-oriented policies are key to greater
growth in America and throughout the world." (1987 report p. 12)
The 1988 report states that freedom, peace and prosperity are at the
heart of the U.S. strategy and that this strategy has been the basic U.S.
approach to world affairs ever since the Second World War. This
continuity reflects "the fact that the strategy is grounded in unchanging
geographic considerations, and designed to preserve the fundamental values
of our democracy." (1988 report, p. 2) The report refutes the
"commonplace criticism that U.S. National Security Strategy changes
erratically every four to eight years as a result of a new Administration
taking office." (1988 report, p. 1)
B. CONSTRAINTS ON THE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The biggest constraint on the U.S. management system for national
security is the continual need to seek consent from those being governed, a
constraint which the Founding Fathers believed to be the essence of just
governmental power. The President, despite his position as the chief
executive, must seek consent from a wide range of groups in order to
implement national security strategy. The 1988 report concludes:
The Administration and Congress must both work harder to build a
bipartisan public consensus on our National Security Strategy and the
resources needed to execute it.... Renewed consensus will be forged on the
anvil of public debate - among responsible officials in government,
between the Congress and the Executive, in consultation with our allies and
friends, and among the larger community of interested and concerned
American citizens. (1988 report, p. 41)
The cost of seeking such a consensus is a major reduction in the
President's freedom of action in world affairs; however, this cost has been
consciously accepted by the American people as the price of ensuring
government by the consent of the governed.
ANALYSIS OF KEY ELEMENTS
According to the 1987 and 1988 reports, the key elements of the U.S.
national security strategy are: (1) the spread of democracy, (2) the
containment of Soviet influence, (3) the avoidance of nuclear war, and (4)
the spread of free market policies. While there has been significant
national debate over the implementation of these goals, it does seem fair to
say that these goals have been the essence of U.S. strategy since the Second
World War. Measured over this period of time, the strategy has been a
success. However, international affairs pose a very long term global
struggle, perhaps an eternal one. Over time, the world changes, therefore
aspects of U.S. strategy must change to reflect the new conditions. While
the present strategy's commitment to democracy and the avoidance of
nuclear war will probably prove to be enduring aspects of U.S. strategy,
other aspects may have to change to accommodate changing world
A. THE SPREAD OF DEMOCRACY
The heart of the U.S. national security strategy is its commitment to
"the promotion of our democratic way of life." (1987 report, p. 9) The
1987 report states that:
History has shown us repeatedly that only in democracies is there
inherent respect for individual liberties and rights. In the postwar world,
democracies have also exhibited extraordinary economic vitality. (1987
report, p. 9)
The role of the U.S. is to be a "beacon for democracy" and to
provide active support to democratic forces. However, the report
acknowledges that there are limits to what the U.S. can achieve:
Change must come from within, following a path dictated by national
and local traditions. In some instances, assistance and guidance is better
provided by other democracies or multi-laterally. Patience and respect for
different cultures and recognition of our own limitations must guide our
effort. (1987 report, p. 9)
Examples of successful promotion of democracy are U.S. assistance
to postwar Western Europe and Asia and, more recently, West European
assistance to democratic movements in Spain and Portugal.
It should not be a surprise that a commitment to democracy is a basis
thrust of U.S. national security strategy. It is also a basic thrust of U.S.
culture and government. Furthermore, the individuals who formulate U.S.
strategy, the President and Congressmen achieved their positions through
the democratic process. At times other U.S. values may conflict with its
commitment to democracy but it is impossible to imagine a U.S. national
security strategy which lacks such a fundamental commitment.
The difficulty in spreading democracy, which the 1987 and 1988
reports recognize, is that democracy cannot thrive unless it exists in a
supportive culture. Not all existing cultures are supportive of democracy;
and even if these cultures evolve into being more supportive, such cultural
evolution is a slow and difficult process. The 1987 report's admonition for
"patience, respect for different cultures and recognition of our own
limitations" is critical for the success of the U.S. strategy. Given the U.S.
culture's deep commitment to democracy, the necessary political
commitment for such a long term goal probably exists. The difficult part
of the strategy will always be the need both for patience and for a sense of
our own limitations.
B. THE CONTAINMENT OF SOVIET INFLUENCE
Both the 1987 and 1988 reports agree that "the most significant threat
to U.S. security interests remains the global challenge posed by the Soviet
Union." (1987 report, p. 6) The only basis for U.S. and Soviet
cooperation is "the common goal of avoiding direct confrontation and
reducing the threat of nuclear war." (1987 report, p. 6)
The problem with the goal of containment is the ambiguity in the
nature of the U.S. -Soviet competition. In the late 1940s, when the
containment of the Soviets became a national goal, George Kennan defined
the problem of containment as blunting the expansionistic impulse of a
radical regime until its radical nature was moderated by the passage of
time. Presumably, once this cooling had taken effect, the U.S. -Soviet
competition could be handled on a more normal diplomatic basis.
Arguably, this cooling has already occurred. Certainly the Soviet Union
under Gorbachev in 1988 is significantly less radical than it was under
Stalin in 1948. If so, the 1987 and 1988 national security strategy reports
are at least partially obsolete. By focusing too much on the Soviet Union
and too little on the rest of the world, they fail to develop the
comprehensive strategic framework which is now needed.
However, this concept of the nature of the U.S. -Soviet competition is
not the only one. John Foster Dulles tended to see the struggle between the
U.S. and the Soviets as a clash between good and evil. Accordingly, the
struggle is intense and will not end until one side is totally vanquished.
This interpretation of the containment strategy appears to be the same
contained in the 1987 and 1988 reports. If this view is correct, then the
reports' emphasis on Soviet containment provides a good blueprint for
renewing and continuing the U.S. leadership of the Free World.
Determining the nature of the U.S. -Soviet competition is difficult.
As stated by the 1987 report, "only a handful of people in the Politburo can
claim with any confidence to know the Kremlin's precise near-term,
tactical plans..." (1987 report, p. 6) Nonetheless, the 1987 report was
confident that Soviet history clearly demonstrated the Soviet's long-term
strategic goal: Soviet global hegemony. But doubt crept into the 1988
report. The report seemed torn between characterizing recent Soviet
reforms as a campaign of disinformation and characterizing them as
"hopes for fundamental changes in Soviet behavior." (1988 report, p. 5)
The 1988 report concluded with a wait-and-see attitude.
Interestingly, the 1987 report, while emphasizing the continuity of
U.S. strategy since the Second World War, observed that "the postwar era
came to an end during the 1970's." (1987 report, p. 3) The report noted
both that a policy of Soviet containment was the essence of our postwar
strategy and that containment was an expensive policy. Given the economic
reality of the postwar era, i.e., U.S. economic dominance, we could afford
such a policy. However, in the new era, "the United States no longer has
an overwhelming economic position vis-a-vis Western Europe and the East
Asia rimland." (1987 report, p. 3) Combining these 1987 economic
observations with the 1988 observations about the changing nature of the
Soviets, the U.S. may very well be leaving the era of containment. If so,
what will be our new strategic framework? Strategically and
diplomatically, the U.S. is probably now in an era of fundamental
C. THE AVOIDANCE OF NUCLEAR WAR
The policy of containment has always included a concept of military
deterrence. The 1988 national security strategy report states that in order
to deter the Soviet Union, "We must make clear to its leaders that we have
the means and the will to respond effectively to coercion or aggression
against our security interests." (1988 report, p. 13) The 1988 report
describes the U.S. strategic nuclear forces and the supporting nuclear
doctrine as the "essential foundation" of deterrence. (1988 report, p. 14)
The U.S. nuclear doctrine is that we deter by maintaining response
flexibility and by targeting Soviet assets which are essential to their war-
However, the nuclear age has posed a severe dilemma to the
American people, a dilemma not yet comfortably solved. Because of the
American belief that Soviet expansion threatens U.S. values, the U.S. has
been committed to deterring that expansion. In the nuclear age, that
deterrence has required massive U.S. strategic nuclear forces. But now,
given the size of the U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals, there is a growing
fear that if a nuclear war erupts, basic U.S. values may not survive.
The 1987 and 1988 reports are sensitive to this dilemma. In both
reports, former President Reagan unequivocally stated. "I have repeatedly
emphasized that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought."
(1987 report, p. 22; 1988 report, p. 15) The reports view the basic problem
as being how to deter the Soviets while reducing the risk of nuclear war.
The solution proposed by both reports is by maintaining the strength of
U.S. conventional and nuclear forces, maintaining U.S. alliances,
developing strategic defenses and seeking equitable and effective arms
reductions which do not compromise our alliance obligations.
If the U.S. is entering a post-containment era, certainly the problem
of avoiding a nuclear war will remain. An interesting issue is how might
the new era affect the problem of avoiding nuclear war? If Western
Europe and Japan accept the principle that they must be more self-
sufficient militarily, how can they do this, to their own satisfaction, without
developing significant nuclear arsenals? If they develop these arsenals, the
U.S. may no longer be able to define the nuclear threat as only coming
from the Soviet Union. If the future holds a proliferation of nuclear
superpowers, arms negotiations may expand from being bilateral in nature
to being multilateral in nature. Furthermore, if the nuclear threat to the
U.S. increases due to an increase in the number of nuclear-armed rivals,
strategic defenses may become even more critical than they are now to the
welfare of the United States.
D. THE SPREAD OF FREE MARKET POLICIES
The 1987 and 1988 reports assert that U.S. national power rests on
the strength of our domestic economy (1988 report, p. 11; 1987 report, p. 11)
and that U.S. prosperity is dependent on the cooperation of Western
Europe and Japan. (1988 report, p. 11; 1987 report, p. 12) Thus, the major
economic goal of the U.S. national security strategy is to promote market-
oriented policies through close consultation and negotiation with our allies.
In addition, the U.S. recognizes a need for the developed nations to assist
the developing nations to "realize sustained, non-inflationary growth" and
to help them resolve their debt problems. (1988 report, p. 12)
The main obstacle to such international economic cooperation is
domestic political pressure. The 1988 report acknowledges that "the
challenge to the United States now is to avoid letting tensions and disputes
over trade issues undermine domestic support for free trade...." (1988
report, p. 12) This same potential pressure exists within each of our allies
The problem with a global free trade policy is that there is no
effective enforcement mechanism. The only enforcement mechanism now
is the threat by each nation to retaliate, with trade barriers, against
violators. This threat of retaliation probably works in times of global
prosperity; but the mechanism may fail in times of hardship when it is most
needed. Such a failure was demonstrated by the trade barriers which
sprang up at the onset of the depression of the 1930s.
Free trade among the industrialized nations was a predominant
economic feature of the postwar era. Will it continue to be so? The
example of OPEC in the 1970s and 1980s is illustrative of one possible
course for economic cooperation among nations. In the 1970s, the OPEC
nations, led by Saudi Arabia, cooperated to control the world supply of oil
and its price. All the OPEC nations benefitted, but to varying degrees. By
the 1980s, national hardships and international rivalries led some nations to
seek a greater share of the group benefits. Their rivalries led to a
breakdown in cooperation, and the price of oil dropped as each nation
unilaterally increased its production of oil.
Was the economic cooperation among the industrialized nations
during the postwar era a product of the U.S. ability to act as a leader due to
its predominant military and economic power? Arguably, it was. Thus,
with that predominance at an end, the foundation for that cooperation may
now be a lot weaker than it was ten years ago. If so, the trend for
cooperation may not be able to survive a severe setback in the global
economy. On the other hand, perhaps the policy makers of the post-
containment era will learn from the experience of the postwar era, and
continue to cooperate economically, even without a clear leader. Only time
Neither the 1987 nor the 1988 national security strategy report
indicates possible new directions for U.S. strategy now that the postwar era
has ended. This failure may stem from the fact that the American people
themselves are not sure what the new era may look like or what the new
U.S. role may be. In contemporary American political rhetoric, one can
sense an awareness of change. The American people remain committed to
democracy, the U.S. remains a powerful military and economic power, the
Soviets remain a powerful rival and nuclear war still poses a serious
dilemma. Yet there seem to be important changes underway. Perhaps the
Soviets are different from what they were in the late 1940s. The U.S. may
no longer be able to guarantee the security of itself and its allies, without
an increased contribution from those allies. If the allies increase their
military strength, will the character of the alliance change? Probably.
Furthermore, the U.S. may not have the same commitment to free-market
policies that it has to democracy. Future economic challenges may bring
the present U.S. economic policy into question.
Under the American system of government, it is the people who
decide the long-term direction of the nation. When the world situation is
itself not clear, the American people will be divided as to the best strategic
direction for the country. Accordingly, the 1987 and 1988 national
security strategy reports will probably be remembered as glimpses of U.S.
strategy in the midst of fundamental flux.
In assessing the impact of these two national security strategies on
Soviet thinking, one source, Hearings before the Senate Armed Services
Committee, indicated that the Soviets considered the 1987 report (the one
being studied at the time) to be "highly anti-Soviet" in tone and in
substance. It would probably hold true that Soviet front organizations for
propaganda would denounce the U.S. national security strategy as
contributing to instability among the Super-powers and negatively
impacting the current atmosphere of detente.
LT Rory Calhoun, USN
LCDR David A. Leary, USN
The United States faces a major challenge in preparing for the
security environment of the early 21st century. This environment will
become increasingly multipolar as Japan and China rise to major power
status. Proliferation of high technology weapon systems should be
expected as well as a growing disparity in the standards of living between
the leading powers and many Third World countries. The animosity
created by this disparity, coupled with the availability of highly accurate,
relatively inexpensive weapons, will make this an extremely dangerous
world from the standpoints of terrorism, blackmail, and small-scale attack.
A nearer term problem deals with maintaining our deterrent posture
and containment of Soviet expansion. In spite of public announcements, the
Soviets are continuing an unprecedented military buildup in conventional as
well as nuclear forces. They are also feverishly pursuing military
applications for advanced technologies. Although direct U.S.-Soviet
military interaction is improbable, there exists a distinct likelihood that the
need will arise to put down Soviet sponsored insurrections in remote
locations throughout the world. In a crisis, lack of a credible deterrent
against the Soviets could prove disastrous.
Faced with the responsibility of organizing America's resources to
ensure her continued physical security in the evolving world, President
Reagan commissioned an advisory committee to investigate the policy and
strategy implications of the applications of advanced technology as they
related to strategic offense, strategic defense, and the conduct of theater
war (including conventional war).l The President's charter also charged
the committee with assessing the utility of and recommending applications
for advanced technology concepts relating to U.S. security interests under
conditions of peace, crisis, and theater or strategic war.
The 15 month period spanning the Commission's deliberations
witnessed the employment of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf,
continued Soviet armed intervention in Afghanistan, the October '87 stock
market crash and resultant world economic system oscillations, the
launching of a Chinese ballistic missile submarine, implementation of the
Reorganization and Acquisition Improvement Acts of 1986, continued
Soviet claims of glasnost and perestroika, a multitude of Third World
problems, and U.S. involvement in several major overseas basing disputes.
Other issues which surfaced either concurrently within this period, or
shortly thereafter, including the resignation of Casper Weinberger as
Secretary of Defense, Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) reduction
negotiations with the Soviets, the Presidential election primaries, and a
major across-the-board Defense Department budget cut. All of these
events had a major impact on the nation's perceived strategic direction
Discriminate Deterrence, the product of the efforts of the Advisory
Committee on Integrated Long-Term Strategy as reported to the President
on January 12, 1988, is touted as "..having alerted us to the new varieties of
danger that lie ahead, and having shown us that, in our present condition,
we are unprepared for the changes we are about to encounter."^ At first
glance it appears that this excellent strategic work is about to be swept into
oblivion even before its content is digested. It has failed to receive official
Presidential endorsement and is never mentioned in the fiscal year 1989
Secretary of Defense report to Congress. However, if one looks beyond
the rhetoric and focuses on the driving forces behind our national strategy,
it becomes obvious that the substance of Discriminate Deterrence is having
considerable influence. The beliefs and recommendations set forth in the
document form the basis of a "second generation" strategic document,
"Competitive Strategies," which promises to provide vital strategic
direction for our country.
II. THE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Long-Term Integrated Strategy Advisory Commission was
established on October 24, 1986 with a charter lifetime of 18 months (later
extended to 24 months). The Commission reported directly to the Secretary
of Defense and the President's National Security Advisor. The bipartisan
Commission was co-chaired by Fred Dele, a former Reagan Administration
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, and Albert Wohlstetter, an
accomplished strategic analyst. Other members included former National
Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and William Clark, former
Secretary of State Henry Kissenger, Admiral James Holloway, Generals
John Vessy, Bernard Schriever, and Andrew Goodpaster, Ambassador
Anne Armstrong, Harvard University Professor Samuel Huntington, and
Rockefeller University President Joshua Lederberg.
In preparing the Discriminate Deterrence document this
distinguished group was formally supported by a research staff, an
administrative staff, a public affairs counselor, and representatives acting
for the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Individual representatives from the
Joint Staff, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force were also provided. In
addition to this support, the Commission received valuable counsel from
members of Congress, the President's Science Advisor, members of the
National Security Council Staff, numerous professionals in the Department
of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, and from a broad range of
specialists outside the government.^
Information provided by the above sources was disseminated among
special study groups (the research staff) for discussion and analysis. These
groups were organized to investigate such things as the security
environment for the next 20 years (Future Security Environment Group),
the role of advanced technology in military systems (Technology Group),
interactions between offensive and defensive systems on the periphery of
the Soviet Union (Offense-Defense Group), the U.S. posture in regional
conflicts around the world (Regional Conflict Group), and the effects of
shifts in the world's population distribution (Demographic Study Group).
The first four groups were chaired by Commission members, while the
fifth was managed by the National Defense University. The results of these
were synthesized by the Commission's co-chairs to produce a coherent,
unified statement of the recommended strategic directions for the nation.
Although not explicitly defined, a logical framework of analysis was
followed in producing the study A First, a concept of the future
environment was developed through the efforts of the Future Security
Environment Working Group and RAND's National
Defense Research Institute.^ Next, U.S. national goals and interests were
compiled from the Constitution, statements from the President's National
Security Strategy of the United States (1987), and the personal beliefs of the
Commission members— most notably Ikle, Wohlstetter, and Gorman.
This third component introduced a filter through which all
information was judged. It was felt that the United States faced a changing
security environment. In this new environment, concentration on the
apocalyptic threat would be undesirable and might be self-defeating. Also,
the challenge of deterring war would remain a prime concern and could
best be served by exploiting the discriminating capabilities of long-range,
precision weaponry. Finally, the lessons of El Salvador impressed on the
members the importance of employing the indigenous population in
regional conflicts rather than U.S. combat troops.^
Having postulated a credible future environment, and having
succinctly defined the U.S. goals and interests, the Commission's next task
was to define the future threats to our nation. This was accomplished by
comparing the projected future environment with U.S. interests as well as
assessing trends in the military capabilities of various countries
(particularly the Soviet Union) against those of our own.
The final step entailed the formulation of a set of principles and
recommendations that could be used to revise the current U.S. "grand
strategy" to bring it into line with contemporary realities.^ These were
presented as Commission's main points in its January report.
III. KEY PLANNING ELEMENTS
Several key assumptions were made in formulating the Commission's
report. The first assumption, inherent in statements expounding methods
to avoid war with the Soviet Union, maintained that the Soviets are
deterred by a credible fighting force. It was also assumed that superpower
conflicts could be limited. The following statement contained in the
report's section covering the extreme threats provides illustration: "To
deter the more plausible Soviet attacks, we must be able to respond
discriminately, but must also have some prospects of keeping any such war
within bounds-of ensuring that it does not rapidly deteriorate into an
apocalypse. "° The Commission was extremely critical of the strategic
doctrine of "mutual deterrence" and maintained that we should never rely
on stability through mutual vulnerability for our security.
A second assumption dealt with establishing a credible measurement
of military capability. The Commission assumed that total annual military
expenditures and annual outlays for capital stock provide an adequate
measure of military strength. To develop estimated values for these, the
following procedure was used: 1) a roughly consistent set of "backward-
looking" and "forward-looking" estimates was produced for each by
employing an aggregate production function expressing the unknown as a
function of inputs of capital, labor, and technological change, and the
output in 1980 value rubles; 2) key model parameters were based on
historical evidence and recent experience, then modified to conform to
explicit judgments concerning the course of future (in the next two
decades) development; 3) ruble-to-dollar conversion was accomplished
using CIA ruble value estimates and conversion rates; and finally, 4) output
values in 1980 dollars were converted to 1986 dollars using the U.S. GNP
price deflator.^ Other measures of military strength are acknowledged
such as order-of-battle data, readiness and training levels, the state of
morale and leadership, among others. The previous methods were chosen
for their descriptive utility and ease of documentation.
Although based on empirical analysis, the global economic
reorganization expressed in the report assumes that trends in certain
operative factors (labor and capital distributive shares, rates of change in
factor productivity, savings-investment rates from annual income, base
year capital stock estimates, depreciation rates on capital stock, and
demographically-consistent labor supply estimates, 10 will follow their
predicted directions. Great care was taken to be thorough in the
formulation of these trends so only minor fluctuations should be expected.
The report emphasizes the continuing need for strong NATO forces
to deter aggression by the Warsaw Pact thereby disclosing another major
assumption: that the NATO and Warsaw Pact Alliances will continue as
viable entities throughout this period of change. However, several
Commission members warned that discriminate deterrence (or the
discriminate use of force) will be necessary to ensure the existence of a
united Europe in the future. H
Few actual constraints were levied against the planning system. The
Commission received enormous cooperation from all the resources it called
upon. Funding for the project included an estimated $40,000 in salaries
for a professional staff and secretarial support as well as $50,000 for
various fees, travel, and administrative costs. Additionally, $500,000 was
provided for contractor support. 12 Finally, the Commission's stature was
greatly enhanced by the prominence of its members.
One limitation that had been placed on the Commission was that of
time. The Commission's charter expired after a maximum life of 24
months. Even though the initial report was complete, the Commission
members stood ready to assist in implementing its conclusions. Once the
charter expired though, this mass of talent and influence was disbanded.
Independent efforts of the various working groups were also constrained
by this deadline.
The Commission's scope was also limited. Its name reflects reality
in that the Commission's sole function was to serve as an advisory body. It
was constrained to operate under the provisions of Public Law 92-463.
Executive Order 12024 and implementing CSA and DoD regulations for
Federal Advisory committees. As a result, its findings and
recommendations cannot, of their own, formulate policy or direct
C. COMMON GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Good planning systems provide a focal point for the ensuing effort.
In the case of the Advisory Committee on Integrated Long-Term Strategy,
this guidance was provided by its charter.
"The Advisory Committee on Integrated Long-Term
Strategy will serve the public interest by providing the
Secretary of Defense and the President's National Security
Advisor with an independent, informed assessment of the
policy and strategy implications of advanced technologies for
strategic defense, strategic offense and theater warfare,
including conventional war." 13
The members also shared the belief that "..need demanded
regeneration of certain basic concepts and ideas." 14 These
included concerns about the developing security environment,
the future of deterrence, and the role of technology in providing for
One final note is the fact that the conclusions of the Discriminate
Deterrence report were unanimously supported by the Commission's
members, a remarkable attribute in light of the diversity of its
IV. ANALYSIS OF PLAN IMPLEMENTATION
An uninterrupted trail of efforts to define a comprehensive national
strategy for the United States can be traced to Truman's NSC 20/4
(November 23, 1948), "U.S. Objectives with Respect to the USSR to
Counter Soviet Threats to U.S. Security." Since then, no fewer than 13
such attempts have been made to codify our national strategy. Aaron
Friedberg analyzed these efforts to identify patterns of success and failure
as well as to develop a strategy that could be used to improve the chances
for success of the efforts of the Advisory Committee on Integrated Long-
Term Strategy. 15 His results indicated that: 1) the ability of a planning
effort to influence subsequent government policy declines as an
administration increases in age; 2) those efforts completed shortly after
inauguration fare better since the new President's strength is generally at
its peak and a consensus exists as to the need for setting strategic guidelines
within a new administration; 3) attempts at midcourse correction are of
moderate success either because the initial danger is perceived to have
disappeared or because the people who formulate the revisions lack
credibility; and, 4) studies completed just prior to a major public
catastrophe can capitalize on the ensuing unrest.
He suggests three strategies that can be used for increasing
the probability that a planning effort will prove effective. The first calls
for a broad-brush diagnosis of the existing problems accompanied by
general recommendations to treat the situation. A second approach
involves identification of a specific threat combined with a specific plan to
deal with it. The final method portends that a unifying theme should be
developed along with an attendant set of loosely related recommendations
for specific programs designed to counter a perceived threat.
Other problem areas for past plans were identified as: 1) inattention
to prediction, 2) lack of a sense of urgency concerning the threat, 3) a
moderation in American perceptions of the Soviet Union, 4) the inability to
define a set of peacetime military goals and a "competitive strategy" for
achieving them, and 5) failure to successfully incorporate arguments for
strategic defense capabilities. These and other marketing tactics ("corridor
work," staff meetings with influential groups and Congressional leaders,
open discussions with the press, and release timing, for example) were
carefully pursued by the Commission members, but the impact of the West
European outcry over the report's implications proved too strong.
Michael Howard, Regius professor of modern history at Oxford
University, Karl Kaiser, director of the Research Institute of the German
Society for Foreign Affairs, and Francois de Rose, a former French
representative to NATO, provided a lucid enunciation of the European
concerns over Discriminate Deterrence in an article for International
Herald Tribune. The first concern involved the report's passages on the
future of nuclear deterrence in Europe. Although they acknowledged the
need for modern, discriminate, nuclear weapons, the group contends that
failure to link the use of these weapons directly to escalation into a wider,
more devastating war (other than one in which nuclear weapons are
employed only to deny success to invading Soviet forces) undermines the
most important basis of alliance: the community of risk. 16 Their real
concern is that Europe may become a limited nuclear battle zone.
A similar concern revolved around the report's proposal to develop
conventional forces that are capable of stopping a Soviet invasion of
Western Europe dead in its tracks without resort to nuclear weapons.
"The notion of a grand conventional conflict to defeat
Soviet forces has no support in Europe, primarily
because the means do not exist but also because it
would be likely to produce the kind of annihilation of
Europe that Americans fear from nuclear escalation."^
A third concern centered on the report's proposal that NATO
ground forces should be prepared to mount deep-strike attacks across the
NATO-Warsaw Pact border. Development of such a posture would be
"..both economically and politically unacceptable in Europe." 18 It is also
feared that such a posture would be perceived as an offensive force build-
up that would endanger East- West relations.
The final European concern was that the report neglected Europe's
role as an actor in future world politics. They accused the report's authors
of treating Western Europe "..only as an object and not as an actor in
politics— not even considered worth mentioning as a force influencing the
strategic environment 20 years hence. "19
Only one other public critique has emerged that could possibly have
an influence on thb fate of the report. The shortfall identified claims that
the report did not adequately deal with the nation's economic situation and
could therefore be of only limited use. According to one journalist,
"What's needed now is an equally serious and high-level study integrating
national security strategy with the economic realities faced by the United
States. "20 in fact, the Commission did consider the international economic
environment and did relate costs to the programs recommended for
support of our national security. The problem was that these findings were
not published with the lead document. Instead, they were pending
publication as the output from the Future Security Environment Working
Group. Also, scope of the Commission's deliberations was limited by its
mandate. Had an economic study been requested, this group could have
produced an extremely good one.
As mentioned above, Discriminate Deterrence has failed to achieve
public endorsement by those who commissioned it. Examination of the
Commission's charter shed some light on the fate of this report, but the
ominous forces of politics and international relations have obviously played
a role in it's public demise. Perhaps the one shortfall not planned for, an
Administration not willing to take certain painful steps for the sake of
national security, has proven to be its undoing.
1. Charter of the Advisory Committee on Integrated Long-Term
Strategy as filed with the Armed Services Committee, January 5, 1988
(pages not numbered in original).
2.. John T. Correll, "Discriminate Deterrence" Air Force
Magazine, March 1988, p. 6.
3. Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy, Descriminate
Deterrence (Washington, D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988,
4. Phone conservation with Dr. Darnell Whitt, Undersecretary of
Defense for Policy, May 5, 1988.
5. RAND produced an unpublished document as an input to the
Future Security Environment Working Group that presented and discussed
trend estimates of GNP, annual military spending, and annual purchases of
capital military stock for 15 countries for the period 1950-2010.
6. Phone conservation with Dr. Whitt, April 21, 1988. See also
Discriminate Deterrence, pp. 33-37 for a discussion of the "extreme
7. Discriminate Deterrence, p. 5.
8. Ibid., p. 37
9. This procedure is outlined in the previously -mentioned RAND
10. RAND used these factors to develop their economic model for
predicting the future view of the world economy.
11. Zbigniew Brezinski, Henry Kissenger, Fred Dele, and Albert
Wohlstetter, "Discriminate Deterrence Won't Leave Europe Dangling,"
International Herald Tribune, February 24, 1988 (see opinion).
12. See the Commission's charter section G.
13. Ibid., section B
14. Phone conversation with Dr. Whitt on April 21, 1988.
15. Aaron Friedberg's memo to the Commission on Integrated
Long-Term Strategy is entitled "Analysis of Past Planning Efforts," The
most recent revision available is dated July 29, 1987.
16. Michael Howard, Karl Kaiser, and Francois de Rose,
"Deterrence policy: A European Response, " International Herald
Tribune, February 4, 1988 (see the OPINION column).
17. Ibid. '
20. Ernest Conne, "A Strategic Study Worth Another Look." Los
Angeles Times. February 4, 1988, p. 14.
1. Brezinski, 2bigniew, Kissinger, Henry, Dele', Fred and Wohlstetter,
Albert, "Discriminate Deterrence Won't Leave Europe Dangling,"
International Herald Tribune, February 24, 1988 (see OPINION column).
A rebuttal to the Howard, et al article. This article allies, but it is likely to
fall on deaf ears (or eyes).
2. Conne, Ernest, "A Strategic Study Worth Another Look," Los
Angeles Times, February 4, 1988, p. 14. Not a condemnation of the
Discriminate Deterrence report. Recommends looking at the economics
involved with the strategies. The author did not know that the commission
had already done this and reported their findings in another document.
The Discriminate Deterrence report was limited by charter to security
3. Correll, John T., "Discriminate Deterrence," Air Force Magazine,
p.6, March 1988. This article depicts Discriminate Deterrence as the
document that alerts the U.S. to the potential problem of not being able to
meet the future "threat," as defined in the Discriminate Deterrence report.
4. Discriminate Deterrence; Report of The Commission On Integrated
Long-Term Strategy, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
January 1988. A thought provoking look into the future with a
corresponding plan to meet the future "threats." A document that,
although it may not be implemented in its entirety, will most likely be
integrated into the national planning systems incrementally.
5. Howard, Michael, Kaiser, Karl, and de Rose, Francois, "Deterrence
Policy: A European Response," International Herald Tribune, February 4,
1988 (see OPINION column). This title gives the article away. It typifies
the objections of the NATO allies to anything that might disrupt there
current programs. The "center-of-the-universe" is in Western Europe.
6. Reagan, Ronald, President of the United States, National Security
Strategy of the United States, The White House, U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C., January 1988. Likely to be the only document
which specifies the "official" United States national interests and objectives.
LT David J. Kern, USN
LCDR Eddie W. Daniel, USN
In February 1986, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger announced the
establishment of a Competitive Strategies Initiative (CSI) within the
Department of Defense (DoD).l Since that time both Secretary
Weinberger and his successor Frank Carlucci have taken steps to
institutionalize this process of strategic planning. Yet to be determined, is
whether Secretary Cheney will continue with the program. But, until the
future of Competitive Strategies is resolved, the question remains just what
is Competitive Strategies and how will it influence U.S. military strategic
A Competitive Strategies analysis employs a chess match
methodology which aligns enduring U.S. strengths against enduring Soviet
weaknesses in a move-response-countermove sequence. This process seeks
to exploit areas of potential high leverage gain that will ideally result in a
new military capability reflecting a combination of operational concepts,
systems, technologies, and organizational approaches.^
The idea of aligning "enduring U.S. strengths against enduring
Soviet weaknesses" is an excellent one, although it happens to be contrary
to the traditional American approach to strategy where the United States
would seek out the enemy's strength and destroy it. It is always a good
idea to align strength against weakness, but winning (achieving political
objectives) may not be attainable unless the enemy's strength is first
defeated. The idea may also encourage overoptimistic hopes for strategic
achievements with minimum expenditures by the United States.^
Competitive Strategies is not a new strategy. It is, instead, a method
of strategic thinking that can be used to evaluate defense strategy and
planning in light of the long-term military competitions. In other words,
Competitive Strategies is a tool to help make strategies and associated
resource allocation decisions. Competitive Strategies is not intended to
cope with every issue, it is more situation-oriented. It focuses on selected,
key, high-leverage areas in a move-countermove-countermove analysis
(i.e., with a given U.S. initiative, what is the likely range of Soviet
responses and, with these given responses, what actions could the U.S. then
If the Office of the Secretary of Defense thinks that he has found
something new in the Competitive Strategies concept, one must wonder
what it has been doing in previous years. Since strategy is by nature
competitive, there are grounds to question the firmness of the official
intellectual grip on the subject.^ The idea of contrasting the strengths and
weaknesses of one's military forces against those of the enemy has long
been a prescription for military success. For example, the famous 19th
century Japanese master swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, urged his students
to carefully study the fighting styles of other schools in order to learn how
to defeat them.6 Competitive Strategies applies this traditional military
concept to the modem national security environment.
Since the end of World War II, the concept of deterrence has
evolved into a primary goal of U.S. military forces. The CSI proposes to
enhance deterrence by developing policies which will direct peacetime
superpower competition into safer areasJ This DoD initiative also
recognizes that the domestic needs of the United States require the
employment of efficient military acquisition policies in the face of a large
Soviet military investment.^ The CSI establishes task forces which study
the force structures necessary for the efficient maintenance of deterrence in
potential conflict scenarios.
The first Competitive Strategies Task Force met in July 1987 to
study the scenario of a high intensity conventional conflict between NATO
and Warsaw Pact forces on the European Continent. The members of this
task force proposed four areas in which NATO's superior information
processing capability could be aligned against the Soviet requirement for
strict time management and high tempo operations. The result of the task
force was to identify technologies crucial to maintaining a competitive war
fighting edge which would be necessary to deter a future Soviet attack upon
It is too early to tell what the effect of this first Competitive
Strategies Task Force Report will be. In the overall system of U.S. defense
planning, the contribution of Competitive Strategies remains small. The
CSI is an ad hoc system of planning employed by the Secretary of Defense
concurrent with, and if used properly, augmenting, the standardized
process of Planning, Programming, and Budgeting (PPBS). Unless the
results of the Competitive Strategies Task Forces are incorporated into
both U.S. war plans and the Five Year Defense Plan (FYDP), the CSI
cannot succeed even if it is institutionalized.
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPETITIVE STRATEGIES
The Competitive Strategies methodology involves aligning enduring
U.S. strengths against enduring Soviet weaknesses over a 5-15 year time
frame. The goal is to create a new or improved U.S. military capability in
high leverage areas, thereby gaining advantages for the U.S. A military
capability involves various combinations of doctrine, operational concepts,
training, procedures, organizational approaches, systems, and new
technologies. Properly understood, a new or improved military capability
may include, but ideally goes beyond, mere systems and technologies.
Competitive Strategies aims to channel the long-term military competition
into areas where the Soviets function ineffectively and where they obtain
minimum results for given costs in time, effort, and money. 10
In establishing an explicit methodology for exploring the competitive
relationships of military adversaries, the Office of the Secretary of Defense
was able to draw upon the experience of U.S. corporate strategic planners.
Beginning in the early 70s, corporate planners began to examine methods
of developing policies which would create a competitive economic
advantage. In particular, Dr. Michael Porter at the Harvard School of
Business began a series of lectures on Industry and Competitive Analysis. 1 1
In a broad sense, the CSI methodology has much in common with the
corporate approach to competitive strategic analysis.
Dr. Porter describes corporate competitive strategy as the system of
developing goals and policies which then shape a corporation's strategy for
economic competition. His book, Competitive Strategy , is based on the
proposition that these strategies for competition should be based upon an
explicitly formulated analytical approach. Dr. Porter suggests a series of
questions whose answers will form the basis of a competitive strategy:^
What is your current strategy? The answer to this question
requires both the explicit statement of current goals and
policies and also a listing of the assumptions upon which the
current strategy is based.
What is happening in the environment? This question focuses
on analyzing the industry in which the competition will take
place, potential adversaries, and external factors relevant to
the competition (government policies, environmental concerns
etc). This analysis concludes by examining the strengths and
weaknesses of all competitors in the contemporary
What should your strategy be? This question forces the
corporation to examine whether the assumptions of its
current strategy apply to the competitive environment.
Several alternative strategies are developed. In the end a strategy
must be chosen.
The prevalent question remains whether the competitive strategies
created by Porter for corporate use, can be adapted effectively by the
Department of Defense for national security.
The first Competitive Strategies Task Force employed a narrower
methodology than their corporate contemporaries. The task force
members developed their analysis in five phases. 13
Critical Soviet military tasks were identified.
U.S. strengths were aligned against Soviet weaknesses;
Several candidate strategies were developed;
Potential Soviet responses were identified; and
U.S. countermoves were developed and net result determined.
This Competitive Strategies analysis should be viewed as
supplementing the systems analysis methods already being employed in
Competitive Strategies provides an adaptive framework for
analyzing operational concepts while systems analysis focuses on weapon
system comparisons. Competitive Strategies is able to postulate the effects
of changing U.S. goals on the future competition. Systems analysis must
analyze the goals established for the current budget cycle. Competitive
Strategies narrows its analysis to selected competition scenarios. Systems
analysis must encompass the entire plan for U.S. defense acquisition. 14
The results of Competitive Strategies analysis is injected into the
PPBS system by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Technological
systems identified by the CSI are placed on a list and tracked through the
budget planning system. These lists are then transmitted to the respective
Service Secretaries so that important competitive technologies are afforded
a protected status. 15
Currently, the CSI expects to expand its methodology by designing
computer simulations and war games which will validate the strategic
concepts developed by the Competitive Strategies Task Forces 16- These
war games will also provide an excellent forum for educating policy
makers on the benefits of the Competitive Strategies Approach.
III. EVALUATION OF THE COMPETITIVE STRATEGIES
The basic assumptions in Competitive Strategies, according to the
Department of Defense Competitive Strategies Office are: 17
The US and Soviet Union are involved in a long-term
Competition occurs in time of peace, crisis and conflict.
Military is only one component of the competition.
Defense is a resource constrained on both sides.
Defense investments are only partially influenced by an
Other considerations include national interests and
objectives, foreign policy internal security demands,etc.
Thus,' not purely action - reaction.
The Soviets, or any other opponent, are capable of beating the
US at its own game.
The stated institutional goals of the CSI are to: 18
Maintain credible deterrence in the face of substantially
greater Soviet defense investments;
Make past Soviet military investments obsolete, thereby
reducing the military threat... and making them realize that
cooperation is a more beneficial choice;
Channel the competition into safer areas; and
Channel the competition into areas less costly for us and more
costly for them in offensive weapons.
Examination of these goals reveals several assumptions implicit in
the Competitive Strategies process. First and foremost, the principal
adversary identified by the CSI is the Soviet Union. There is no indication
that this analysis will be applied on a broader scale in order to examine
alternative competitors in the national security arena.
Second, Competitive Strategies planning is focused on the national
security environment 10 to 15 years in the future. The conflict scenarios
developed for the future are intended to guied procurement policies in the
current peacetime environment. The development and execution of
competitive policies assumes the continued peaceful coexistence of the US
and the Soviet Union.
Third, the Competitive Strategies Task Forces, while looking to
exploit any competitive advantage, will probably focus on technology as the
answer. US strategic planners tend to assume that technological advantage
will continue to provide for US national security.
Fourth, the Competitive Strategies methodology seems to assume that
Soviet military procurement policies can be influenced by US procurement
policies in a sort of action-reaction arms race model. This is a very
difficult assumption to verify. On the surface there appears to be
supporting evidence. The US development of the B-52 is often cited as an
example of a successful competitive strategy. The deployment of B-52
strategic bombers supposedly forced the Soviet Union to spend enormous
resources on air defense. This argument, however, overlooks the
possibility that other events may have caused Soviet concern over air
defense. For instance, it may have been spurred by U.S. intelligence
aircraft which systematically overflew the USSR in the late 1950s. The
formulation of an action-reaction superpower procurement model
oversimplifies a complex decision-making process.
Even assuming that these assumptions are valid, the Competitive
Strategies process is greatly constrained by bureaucratic environment of
DoD military planning. First, the CSI is confined to influencing DoD
policies only, the Competitive Strategies process is not free to examine the
larger score of U.S. national security policy.
Each of the individual players in the Competitive Strategies process
is influenced by parochial bureaucratic interests. The strategic planning
performed by Competitive Strategies Task Forces is based upon an analysis
of future US war fighting capability. Current war plans are developed by
the Unified and Specified Commanders and approved by the Joint Chiefs of
Staff. The potential for internal conflict is high if civilians in Competitive
Strategies Task Forces attempt to usurp this traditionally military function.
The implementation procedures of the Competitive Strategies process
promise to protect technological programs considered vital to the future
security needs of the nation. The creation of protected programs reduces
the ability of the service secretaries to determine their service budgets.
Friction may be created by programs lobbying the Competitive Strategies
Task Forces for protection behind the backs of the service secretaries..
The chess match methodology in a move-response-counterresponse
sequence, as used in Secretary Carlucci's Annual Report to the Congress
for FY 1989, is contrary to common knowledge that war, and even
peacetime defense preparations, is not remotely like chess. A chess match
is governed by rules, with all the pieces visible and each player moving in
turn. Unfortunately, war is not like that , as Clausewitz asserted with the
ideas of the "Fog of War," and the "Friction." There are no rules between
two competing, or warring, nations. If Competitive Strategies must allow
for this fluid environment of no rules or boundaries.19
One should not overemphasize the negative aspects of assumptions
and constraints when examining the Competitive Strategies Initiative. Any
strategic planning initiative developed within the DoD would be based upon
assumptions, and resistance always accompanies change. The important
question is, "Are the assumptions invalid or the resistance
The assumptions used by the CSI are generally accepted by the U.S.
defense establishment in general. Most U.S. war fighting doctrines
(Maritime Strategy, Flexible Response, etc.) are based on a characterization
of the soviet Union as the enemy. Also, it is reasonable to assume that the
U.S. and USSR will not soon go to war since the CSI is intended to guide
peacetime procurement policies. The assumptions that U.S. technological
advantage can offset Soviet numerical advantage and the modeling of an
action-reaction arms race while untested, will not damage U.S. war
fighting capability should they prove untrue.
The fundamental idea behind Competitive Strategies is an expression
of such commonplace wisdom that it is amazing, and slightly appalling, that
people, especially political and defense leaders, should find it so novel.
There may be several pitfalls associated with current thinking in regards to
Competitive Strategies, which may be:^0
1. The overvaluation of technology . Americans, in modern
history, have counted technology as one of their strengths. A great deal of
the competitive strategies literature reflects the belief that new technologies
can be the key to military success. The danger may be a blind search for
new weapons or a' way to use the older ones differently, while ignoring the
fundamentals, such as how to wage war and the human factors.
2. Neglect of enemv responses or initiatives. When
designing competitive strategies it may be convenient to assume a rather
stupid and cooperative enemy. An important reason why planners should
understand the probable error of believing that clever ideas can substitute
for hard fighting, is because clever ideas have a way of being countered.
The Soviets, or any other adversary, have a reasonable chance of
countering any technological advantage which U.S. may develop with their
own technological skills. Competitive Strategies mandates a very serious
Red team analysis.
3. The problem of fashion. Competitive Strategies is a good
idea, but good ideas can become bad ideas if they assume fashionable status
and if development of strategy is last rhetoric and budget gimmicks. It
makes good copy for the press and for Congress to argue that new
technologies, tactics, and operational concepts can reap rewards quite
disproportionate to effort and costs. But, more often than not, victory (or
whatever goals are desired) has to be earned the old fashioned way, one has
to fight hard for it. This is not to say the U.S. should not develop the latest
technology and strategies to employ it, but, at the same time, preparations
must be conducted to wage the less attractive war of attrition if Murphy's
Law denies the swift victory.
There is no question that resistance to Competitive Strategies exists
within DoD. For example, an unnamed Defense Department official
. . . not everyone has the same view of competitive
strategies. Various people will pass judgement
as to what is competitive on a priority basis and
they will attempt to promote their pet rocks. They
will have their own budget resources. It will confront
a lot of people here who want everything without any
notion of priorities. It will force them to make
The results of the first Task Force seemed to support the established
ware fighting doctrines of the various services. The four initiatives
proposed by the Task Force were:22
Countering Soviet Air Operations;
Countering Soviet penetration of NATO Forward Defense;
Stressing the Warsaw Pact Troop Control System; and
Countering Soviet Global and Multitheater Operations.
These four initiatives mesh well with the already established service
doctrines of Follow on Forces Attack (FOFA), Air-Land Battle, and Air
Force bomber programs such as the B-2 stealth bomber. Most of the
initiatives to date have been chiefly concerned with the Central Front,
which directly affects the U.S. Army and, to a lessor degree, the U.S. Air
Force. The Navy has not been the primary beneficiary of these initiatives.
It is doubtful that the Competitive Strategies process would be able to
influence war fighting doctrines without first gaining the support of the
applicable military services. It seems, therefore, that the true role of the
CSI is to integrate the accepted war fighting doctrines of the services into
a comprehensive procurement strategy which will cause the Soviets to
continue to spend heavily on their defensive systems.
The ability of competitive Strategies to influence service budgets is
already creating some internal friction in DoD. According to Defense
News, several U.S. Navy officials are concerned that Navy programs will
become neglected as Air Force and Army programs become protected by
the results of the first CSI Task Force.23 Deputy Secretary of Defense
Taft has already signed a list of military programs which will receive
special protected status in future service budget requests.24
The survival of Competitive Strategies depends upon a strong
advocate or sponsor from the office of the Secretary of Defense. With the
change of administrations from Reagan to Bush, it is yet uncertain whether
a strong supporter for Competitive Strategies exists among the new
appointees in the Cheney led Defense Department. The advocates of
Competitive Strategies are encouraged from the support Congressional
leaders have given, and the pressure which they have asserted on both the
Executive branch and the Department of Defense to retain Competitive
Strategies, rather than adopt the methodology as one of several tools useful
to the development of strategy.
The potential advantages of the CSI probably outweigh any negative
aspects. Focusing on the long term superpower competition provides an
important supplement to the short term focus of the PPBS system. It is too
early, however, to judge whether the CSI will ultimately be successful or
not. To a large extent, its continued existence may depend upon whether
or not the current Administration views the CSI as a political remnant of
the Reagan defense program or a tool for the future.
Trie true test of Competitive strategies will be performed sometime
in the future. Will 21st century strategic planners look back and
congratulate today's policy-makers as helping to shape a safer superpower
competition? U.S. military planners must periodically think about the
future because weapons built today will remain in the U.S. Inventory for
decades. Competitive Strategies provides a needed forum for
conceptualizing future U.S. military needs.
Beyers, Dan. "New Priorities Plan May Cost Navy." Defense News.
February 29, 1988, p.3+. This article describes the effects of implementing
Competitive Strategies on the budget process in general and the Navy in
particular. Some mention is made of using war games as a tool for
Carlucci, Frank C. Annual Report to Congress FY89 . Washington, D.C.
Government Printing Office, 1988. The CSI description in this report is
the best to date. Competitive Strategies is defined and the various councils
and steering committees are described. In addition, the results of the 1st
Task Force are outlined.
Competitive Strategies Office. A Department of Defense Competitive
Strategies Primer . Unpublished paper, March 15, 1988. This paper
presents the official Department of Defense view of the Competitive
Strategies initiative. It is an excellent source of general information.
Gray, Colin S. "The Maritime Strategy and Competitive Strategies"
November, 1988. An interesting article concerning potential pitfalls in
Hawes, John H. "Improving the Balance of Conventional Forces in
Europe." Current Policy No. 939. This article describes perceived Soviet
weaknesses in the NATO/Warsaw Pact balance.
Hines, John G. and Kraus, George F. "Soviet Strategies for Military
Competition." XVI Parameters . Autumn 1986, pp. 26-31. This excellent
article characterizes the Soviet approach to military competition and
provides an excellent contrast of US and Soviet strategy and force
Mann, Paul. "Strategic Doctrine for High Technology." Aviation Week and
Space Technology, June 15, 1987,pp.ll0-114. An interesting article which
provides many opinions on Competitive Strategies from DoD outsiders.
Marcus, Daniel J. "Pentagon Forces Budget Shield to Protect Vital C31
Systems." Defense News. April 11, 1988, p.4+. Description of recent CSI
actions to influence the defense budget. Tends to emphasize the C3 1
aspects of protected CSI technologies.
Musahi, Miyamoto . A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy.
Translated by Victor Harris. Woodstock, New York: Overlook Press,
1974. An ancient strategic concept book which is still applicable.
National Security Strategy of the United States. Washington, D.C.: US
Government Printing Office, 1987. Only a brief mention of the CSI
program. Note the 1988 version does not mention the CSI.
Porter, Michael E. Competitive Strategy :Techniques for Analyzing
Industries and Competitors. New York, NY: Free Press, 1980. The
original bible for competitive strategies written for commercial and
US Military Posture FY88. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing
Office, 1987. Again, just a brief mention of the CSI program.
Wax, Charles J. Director, Competitive Strategies Office, in a Memorandum
for Dennis Kloske, Chairman, Competitive Strategies Steering Group,
dated 23 May 1988. The memorandum was an attempt to answer questions
from Senator Byrd to the Secretary of Defense about the relationship of
"Competitive Strategies" and "discriminate deterrence."
Weinberger, Caspar W. Annual Report to the Congress FY 87.
Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1986. Brief
definition and description of the CSI.
Weinberger, Caspar W. Annual Report to the Congress FY88.
Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1987. Brief
description now including mention that CSI is being "institutionalized."
Zhurkin, Vitaliy V.; Karaganov, Sergey A.; and Kortunov, Andrey V.
"Security Challenges: Old and New." Kommunist. No. 1, 1988, pp. 42-50.
An interesting Soviet description of CSI as an economic strategy to
bankrupt the Soviet Union. SDI, horizontal escalation, and US technology
transfer policies are described as part of the CSI program.
1 . Caspar Weinberger, Annual Report to the Congress FY87
(Washington, D.C.: US Government Publishing Office, 1986), p.88.
2. Frank Carlucci, Annual Report to the Congress FY89
(Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1988), p.115.
3. Colin S. Gray, "The Maritime Strategy and Competitive
Strategies," November 1988, pp. 2-3 & 17.
4. Charles J. Wax, Director, Competitive Strategies Office,
Memorandum for Dennis Kloske, Chairman, Competitive Strategies
Steering Group, dated 23 May 1986. The memorandum was an attempt to
answer questions from Senator Byrd to the Secretary of Defense about the
relationship of Competitive Strategies and "Discriminate Deterrence."
5. Colin S. Gray, "The Maritime Strategy and Competitive
Strategies, " p.6.
6. Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide
to Strategy, translated by Victor Harris (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press,
7. Annual Report FY89. p.l 15
8. Competitive Strategies Office, A Department of Defense
Competitive Strategies Primer, unpublished paper, March 15, 1988. p.4.
9. Annual Report FY89. pp. 1 17-1 18.
10. Charles J. Wax, Director, Competitive Strategies Office,
Memorandum for Dennis Kloske, Chairman, Competitive Strategies
Steering Group, dated 23 May 1988, the memorandum was an attempt to
answer a question from Senator Byrd to the Secretary of Defense about the
relationship of Competitive Strategies and "Discriminate Deterrence."
1 1 . Michael E. Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for
Analyzing Industries and Competitors (New York: Free Press, 1989), p.ix.
12. Porter, pp.xvi-xx.
13. Annual Report FY89. p. 116.
14. Competitive Strategies Primer, p.3.
15. Competitive Strategies Primer, p.6.
16. Competitive Strategies Primer, p.5.
17. Department of Defense Competitive Strategies Fact Sheet,
18. Competitive Strategies Primer, pp. 2-3.
19. Colin S. Gray, "The Maritime Strategy and Competitive
Strategies," pp. 1-2.
20. Colin S. Gray, "The Maritime Strategy and Competitive
Strategies," pp. 7-14.
21. Paul Mann, "Strategic Doctrine for High Technology,"
Aviation Week and Space Technology. June 15, 1987, p. 110.
22. Annual Report FY89. pp. 117-118.
23. Dan Beyers, "New Priorities May Cost the Navy," Defense
News. February 29, 1988, p.3.
24. Daniel J. Marcus, "Pentagon Forges Budget Shield to Protect
Vital C3I Systems," Defense News. April 11, 1988, p.44.
1. Dudley Knox , Library 2
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
2. Director of Research (Code 012) 1
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
3. Andrew Marshall 5
Director, Net Assessment
OSD/NA Room 3A930
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20501
4. COL Steven Rickey, USAF 2
Competitive Strategies Office
PNT Room 1E801/5
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
5. CAPT Jerry Murphy, USN 2
Chief Strategic Planning
USD A PI/SP Room 3E10
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
6. Director, Defense Policy 2
OEB Room 3 08
National Security Council Staff
17 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20506
7. Dr. James Tritten 2
Department of National Security Affairs (56Tr)
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
8. Dr. Nancy C. Roberts, Associate Professor 5
Administrative Science Department (54Rc)
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
9. Dr. Darnell Whitt, Associate Professor 1
Defense Resources Education Management Center
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
10. Dr. David Whipple 1
Administrative Science Department (54)
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 93943-5100
11. CDR Terry Tierney 15
Curricular Officer - NSA/Intelligence Programs
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, CA 9 394 3
(forward to students previously enrolled in NS 4230)
12. Dr. Ben Adams 1
U.S. -Soviet Standing Consultative Commission
Pentagon Room 54670
Washington, D.C. 20301
13. Dr. Richard T. Ackley 1
Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Director, National Security Studies
California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
14. LTC Ken Allard, USA 1
DACS-ZBAS (Pnt Room 3C641)
Office of the Chief of Staff
Department of the Army
Washington, D.C. 20310-0200
15. COL David J. Andre, USA 1
Special Assistant for Analysis
ODUSD (Planning and Resources)
Pentagon, Room 3A7&8
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301-2100
16. Dr. Roger Barnett 1
Captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
National Security Research
3 031 Javier Road
Fairfax, VA 22031
17. Dr. Alvin Bernstein
Chairman, Strategy Department
Naval War College
Newport, RI 0284
18. Dr. Donald C. Daniel
Chairman, Campaign and Strategy Department
Center for Naval Warfare Studies
Naval War College
Newport, RI 02841-5010
19. Dr. Brad Dismukes
Center for Naval Analyses
44 01 Ford Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
20. Dr. James George
Center for Naval Analyses
44 01 Ford Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301
21. Dr. David K. Hall
National Security Decision Making Department
Naval War College
Newport, RI 02841
22. COL David G. Hansen, USA
Department of National Security and Strategy
U.S. Army War College
Carlisle Barracks, PA 17013-5050
23. COL John J. Hickey, Jr., USA
Attn: AWCI Root Hall Room A218
Strategic Studies Institute
U.S. Army War College
Carlisle Barracks, PA 17013
24. CAPT William S. Johnson, USN
Pentagon Room 4E592
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Washington, D.C. 20301
25. Dr. Francis X. Kane
Strategic Defense Center
Rockwell International Corporation
2230 East Imperial Highway
El Segundo, CA 90245
26. COL Thomas A. Keaney, USAF
Chairman, Department of Strategy
National War College
Ft. Leslie J. McNair
Washington, D.C. 20319-6000
27. AMB Rodney O. Kennedy-Minott
Senior Research Fellow
The Hoover Institution
Stanford, CA 94123
U.S. and International Studies
U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD 21402
29. Dr. J. J. Martin
Science Applications International Corp.
102 60 Campus Point Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
30. CAPT Richard Diamond, USN
Pentagon Room 4E486
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Washington, D.C. 20350
31. Dr. Kleber S. Masterson
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Vice President - Booz Allen & Hamilton
Crystal Sguare #2, Suite 1100
1752 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202-4158
32. CAPT James Starke, USN
CNO Executive Panel
Center for Naval Analyses
44 01 Ford Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22302
33. Dr. Jeffrey S. Milstein
Strategic Analyst and Planner
Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Plans and Policy Directorate
The Pentagon, Room 2E949
Washington, D.C. 20301
34. George E. Pickett, Jr.
Northrop Analysis Center
2 Lafayette Center
1133 21st Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
35. Dr. Bruce Powers
Special Assistant for Technology, Plans, & Analysis
OP-05/50W Pnt Room 4E367
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Washington, D.C. 20350-2000
36. Michael Rich
The RAND Corporation
1700 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90406-2138
37. Dr. James Roche
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Northrop Analysis Center
2 Lafayette Centre
1133 21st Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
38. Dr. Steven P. Rosen
Naval War College
Newport, RI 02841
39. J. W. Russel
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Manager, Systems Analysis
P.O. Box 3999, 8R-83
Seattle, WA 98124-2499
40. CAPT Peter Swartz, USN
APO New York, NY 09667-5028
41. Dr. Michael Vlahos
Director, Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Service Institute
U.S. Department of State
1400 Key Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209
42. CAPT Robert B. Watts, USN (Ret.)
Coordinator, Strategic Studies Project
Naval War College Foundation
U.S. Naval War College
Newport, RI 02841-5010
43. Francis J. West
The Gamma Corporation
1818 North Lynn Street, Suite 804
Arlington, V A 222 09
44. Dr. Charles Wolf
Director, RAND Graduate School
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90406-2130
45. Defense Technical Information Center
Alexandria, VA 22314
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