NEW ARTICLE: TX Hammes article in a new strategic journalzine...
A New On-Line Journal focused on strategy has just been issued: "Infinity" published by A.E. Stahl, and edited by William F. Owen, is concerned with the theory and practice of strategy. Senior Fellow Dr. TX Hammes' article is featured in the premiere issue.
"Assumptions - A Fatal Oversight"
T.X. Hammes, PhD
There has been a lively discussion in the open press concerning the appropriate strategy for Afghanistan. Stimulated by repeated top level administration reviews (Bush 2008, Obama 2009, proposed Obama Dec 2010) the chattering classes have spilled barrels of ink discussing what an effective strategy might look like. In fact, “Afghanistan strategy” results in over 28 million hits on Google. Yet most commentators – and to be fair, most administration personnel – are not really speaking about strategy but rather about what goals are appropriate for Afghanistan. This means that most of the discussion is simply wasted. A discussion of goals avoids the difficult task of developing a genuine strategy.
Assumptions are critical to defining your understanding of the problem. Only by stating the assumptions can you insure all participants understand how you see the situation. Failure to do so precludes a coherent, thoughtful discussion of the plan, since the participants are like the proverbial blind men touching the elephant. Each has a mental image of the problem he is discussing that has little or no relation to the vision of the others. They are literally not talking about the same thing. Further, even if the assumptions are stated, the discussion must continue to understand which are critical to the plan and which are not.Read more...
« Read More News & Events