Grand Strategy and Strategic Surprise

by Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University
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The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy is pleased to announce the release of an important new study, Grand Strategy and Strategic Surprise. The author of the study, Casimir Yost, is a senior fellow in the Institute and former director of the Strategic Futures Group at the National Intelligence Council, as well as the former director of ISD. Professor Yost argues that the United States has “lost the capacity for sustained, government wide strategic assessment and anticipation.” He examines the intersection between strategy, planning, and surprise –with surprise, all too frequently, disrupting the development of strategy. He concludes that while the intelligence community and other agencies of government can contribute to strategic planning, it is the White House that must take the lead. Moreover, he argues that an effective planning capacity, at a time of heightened risk to the United States, should not have to be reconstituted with every new administration. The greatest risk for the United States is during presidential transitions “as the old, experienced, and tired team leaves office and the new, untested, and under-informed team enters office.”