Venue: NDUC, Akershus fortress, building 10, Oscarsborg.
Sign up for the Doctrine Conference 2017
Professor Hew Strachan introduced the term
“the Lost meaning of Strategy” in 2005, and the inability for Western powers to
create any lasting strategic advantages from its superior military power and
tactical successes has been an issue of debate since. One explanation has been
the absence of strategy to “point the way” for military operations, and that
the operational level have “devoured strategy”.
The conference will present and discuss the
role of military strategy today and in the near future in four sessions; thinking strategy, studying strategy, making strategy and finally, conducting strategy. Some of the leading experts in
the field will meet at the Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College to give
their views on this subject from a number of different perspectives.
Theme 1: What is strategy? And what can it be? (Thinking Strategy)
What is actually the problem with strategy today? Do we expect too much from it, and too little from politics, or should we expect more from strategy after all? Do strategists under-deliver? Or do Western politicians overpromise?
Theme 2: What can academia do to improve strategy, if any? (Study Strategy)
According to Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke strategy is only a system of expedients. Is, perhaps, strategic skills only the ability to find practical solutions to actual problems? Or is "strategy" a set of skills and methods that can assist people in that process? Is there anything in the strategic "toolbox" that exceeds generalities and banalities? If so, what is it? (Can strategy, as a field of knowledge, be to politicians and generals what mathematics is for carpenters and engineers? I.e. a tool for better thinking and better practice?).
Theme 3: The making of strategy: What can politicians, civil servants and officers do to improve strategy making? (Making Strategy)
Afghanistan and Iraq were very difficult areas to operate in. However, even though the task was difficult, the Western powers could perhaps have coped better? The mechanisms used, and the institutions responsible for making strategy, is perhaps not up to task?
Theme 4: What can military personnel in the field do to improve strategy? (Conducting Strategy)
It is not enough to develop good strategy; someone has to implement it under difficult circumstances. The political leadership, the generalship and the tactical leadership all have to perform on a day-to-day basis in order to succeed.