The Problem With Washington’s Planning Obsession
The ritual of crafting strategy encourages participants to spin a narrative that magnifies the scope of the national interest and exaggerates global threats.
The panel concluded, “Instead of unconstrained, long term analysis by planners who were encouraged to challenge preexisting thinking, the QDRs became explanations and justifications, often with marginal changes, of established decisions and plans.”
Phi Beta Iota: What passes for strategy in Washington is more aptly termed delusional fraud. Budget-sharing on the inside, and budget-capture on the outside, are what drive US policy, acquisition, and operations. They are devoid of intelligence and integrity. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), said:
I am constantly being asked for a bottom-line defense number. I don’t know of any logical way to arrive at such a figure without analyzing the threat; without determining what changes in our strategy should be made in light of the changes in the threat; and then determining what force structure and weapons program we need to carry out this revised strategy.
Not only do we need to understand the variety of threats in all their nuances, we have to stop being a threat ourselves. What CIA is doing today with drone assassinations on the one hand, and the arming and training of Uighurs and Chechens to send back against China and Russia is criminally insane — one wonders just how naive, stupid, or distant the President has to be to ignore this situation. What we continue to do in supporting all 40-odd dictators on the planet less two, against their own publics, is in direct contradiction to our alleged commitment to promoting democracy and peace.