The Theory of Strategy, II: Construction, Execution, and Consequences

Colin S. Gray

in The Strategy Bridge

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579662
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594458 | DOI:
The Theory of Strategy, II: Construction, Execution, and Consequences

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Because strategy is complex, the general theorist treads a perilous path between unduly detailed complication, and overmuch reduction for the sake of simplicity. Clarity is of no value if it misleads. The general theory of strategy has to accommodate and employ the ideas presented here as dicta clustered to explain the making of strategy, the execution of strategy, and strategy's consequences. Strategy is made by a process, it is value charged because of its pervasive human dimension, those values are somewhat specific to culture(s) and personally(ies), and it is made by people licensed explicitly or informally as strategists. To execute strategy, a plethora of difficulties must be overcome, and hard choices need to be made concerning the type (or types) of strategy to be followed. Also, geography, technology time, logistics, and the development of suitable military doctrine, all present significant challenges to the quality of strategic performance. And, then there is the product of strategy to understand, which is effect—tactical, operational, then strategic. It is vital to recognize some distinctions between admittedly intimately connected ideas: strategy and war, strategy and strategies as plans, strategy and doctrine, general theory and specific general theory (e.g. the specific general theory of air power), politics and policy, strategy‐making and strategy execution, war and warfare, and context and contingency.

Keywords: strategy; strategy‐making; strategy execution; strategic performance; doctrine; plans; war; context; contingency; geography

Chapter.  22242 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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