Strategy and defence planning - Colin S Gray



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Strategy and defence planning - meeting the challenge of uncertainty
Colin S Gray
Oxford University Press
UK Publication Date

Strategy and Defence Planning: Meeting the Challenge of Uncertainty explores and examines why and how security communities prepare purposefully for their future defence. The author explains that defence planning is the product of interplay among political process, historical experience, and the logic of strategy. The theory of strategy best reveals both the nature and the working of defence planning. Political 'ends', strategic 'ways', and military 'means'all fed by reigning, if not always recognized, assumptions, organize the subject well with a template that can serve any time, place, and circumstance. The book is designed to help understanding of what can appear to be a forbiddingly complex as well as technical subject.A good part of the problem for officials charged with defence planning duties is expressed in the second part of the book's title. The real difficulty, which rarely is admitted by those tasked with defence planning duty, is that defence planning can only be guesswork. But, because defence preparation is always expensive, not untypically is politically unpopular, yet obviously can be supremely important, claims to knowledge about the truly unknowable persist. In truth, we cannot do defenceplanning competently, because our ignorance of the future precludes understanding of what our society will be shown by future events to need. The challenge faced by the author was to identify ways in which our problems with the inability to know the future in any detail in advance-the laws of nature, inother words-may best be met and mitigated. Professor Gray argues that our understanding of human nature, of politics, and of strategic history, does allow us to make prudent choices in defence planning that hopefully will prove 'good enough'.

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Dr Colin S. Gray is a political scientist with broad interests in national security policy, defence policy, strategy, strategic theory, and military history. He was educated at the University of Manchester (B.A. [Econ.] hons.), 1965, and at Lincoln College, Oxford University (D.Phil., International Politics, 1970). He is Professor of International Politics and Strategic Studies, and Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies, at the University of Reading, England,and is a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Public Policy, Fairfax, VA, USA. From 1982 until 1987 Dr Gray held a Presidential appointment when he served on the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. In April 1987 he was presented with the Superior PublicService Award by the US Department of the Navy. In 1997-98 he served on the Panel of Experts on the UK Strategic Defence Review. In 2009-10 he was a member of the Defence Advisory Forum for the UK Ministry of Defence.

This volume - the last of a trilogy - is intended for defence professionals, and it should be required reading for the members of that audience.
Ben Lombardi, Political Studies Review

The book provides a brilliantly insightful picture of how the MOD works, a complex system where the interplay between military officers, politicians and civil servants demands constant consultation and adjustment in the search for consensus ... this book should be read and digested widely.
Wing Commander Mal Craghill, RAF Centre for Air Power Studies Reading List

an admirable addition to the theory of strategy
Major Nathan K. Finney, Parameters

This is an important book, because it raises questions about many of the assumptions and processes on which western defence planning is based.
General H.R. McMaster, War, Conflict and the Military

Strategy specialist Colin Gray delivers an excellent discussion illustrating how history, politics and military means all intertwine during defense planning in his work Strategy a& Defence Planning: Meeting the Challenge of Uncertainty. One of the works true strengths is the constant reference to other strategic contributors. Clausewitz and Thucydide's foundational works, On War and The History of Peloponnesian War are constantly referenced. Inaddition, Schelling's texts, The strategy of Conflict and Arms and Influence play a central role supporting overall concepts.
Lt Col Mark T. Peters, USAF

Keyword Index
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
viii, 225

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