Michael D. Phillips, Colonel, USAF (ret.) In response to chronic shortcomings, the President, Congress, and senior leaders of our intelligence agencies and service components demand original, prescient and accurate analyses. This is not the first time leaders have sounded an alarm.
Jeffrey S. Johnson, Colonel, USAF (ret.) Since 9/11 intelligence analysis and its shortcomings have been widely discussed. Military Services increased the amount of training in critical thinking and structured analytic techniques. The Army and Air Force created Advanced Analysis courses and OUSD(I) created the Information Environment Advanced Analysis course. All of this is good for moving toward the goal of improving the skill sets and capabilities of military intelligence analysts. But, more fundamental to an increase in courses and techniques, what is required to achieve a breakthrough in advanced analysis is a new or renewed mindset and an environment created to execute advanced analysis.
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. Information-Related Capabilities abound in doctrine-approved professional communities of practice. Unfortunately, doctrine always lags reality. Especially reality that takes the form of a proactive competitor. We tend to label such intellectually self-imposed surprises as black swans.
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. The first plenary of the US National Defense University’s Asia Policy Assembly today noted the tendency of US grand strategy to react to threats. We can’t seem to mobilize sufficient political will until after big shocks. Reacting too late or with a short-sighted view (even if long-term) is particularly dangerous given the accelerating pace and broadening space of our strategic environment. Plenary discussants pointed out US vulnerabilities such as extended supply chains and undefended intellectual property. They called for policy makers to support market innovations, diplomatic adroitness, investments in education and defense-related technologies and competencies. Recognizing […]
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. Winning is not a static end-state. It’s a continuous process of gaining and maintaining advantage through combinations of effects. The competition to produce superior effects involves relationships that are both cooperative and confrontational. Applying such a “coop-frontation” lens to Russia, North Korea, China and Iran enables us to see strategies that seek to persuade, compel, induce, deter, defend, and coerce. In authoritarian states, confrontation tends to not be a last resort, but rather an integral part of cooperation. We can understand this aspect of complex warfare and complex competition in terms of different types of effects […]
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. Strategic leaders blend theoretical and applied thinking to realize goals. Competitive strategy is a creative process, one that rearranges ways and means to achieve desired ends. Superior strategy combines interactive effects. The National Security Strategy of 2017 (NSS) calls for such innovation. This Paper proposes a combined effects approach to complex competition and warfare. I begin constructively by interpreting the NSS primarily as a security strategy rather than a political posture.
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. Too easy? It’s too easy to get distracted from thinking about how to lead the development of strategy, so let’s focus on two fundamentals. First, two definitional assumptions about strategy and leadership: (1) strategy is a process that links ends, ways and means at multiple levels of activity; (2) leadership is getting others to do what they otherwise would not do.
Thomas A. Drohan, Ph.D. Winning complex competition and warfare requires both theoretical and applied thinking. Thinking critically about assumptions, logic and evidence helps frame and anticipate threats to security. Particularly for adaptive threats that target vulnerabilities of thought such as entrenched assumptions, flawed cause-and-effect logic, and “not in my lane” job execution.