Let’s face it: policy wonks inside the DC beltway love to peddle the latest tactical innovation. There really are few true strategists.
So how do you become an elite strategist? Just follow these easy steps!
- Prove your credentials as a strategist by quoting JP 1-02. There’s a lot of confusion out there as to what strategy is and is not. This is because there are very few true strategists in the world. Or, maybe because the word “strategy” has many uses in common English. Regardless, just quote JP 1-02 at your next dinner party. The look on that young maiden’s face is the look of desire. I know this because it’s the same look I get when I ask women to roll around in Jell-O and look at my Fulda Gap maps. Giggity Giggity.
- “Strategy of tactics”. Okay, we get it–COIN was a “strategy of tactics”. Best to ditch COIN and find another shiny object to chase around.
- Ends, Ways, and Means. True strategic thinkers know that strategy is actually quite simple. Just think of the ends, and walk backwards to the ways and means–not at all unlike a 1990s-era METL crosswalk. But be sure to mention that strategy is about linking ends, ways, and means at every opportunity. Leave others to actually figure out which ends we need to pursue, then criticize said ends mercilessly. Many strategists have made their living this way. (See also, “Let’s all focus on strategy”)
- Domestic political concerns aren’t strategy. Like it or not, partisan bickering, pork-barrel legislation, and the military-industrial complex play a huge role in formulating grand strategy. Not to mention, the American voter is notoriously ill-informed, indifferent, and schizophrenic when it comes to foreign policy. Actually, when you think about it, it gets kind of depressing. Best to pretend it doesn’t exist. After all, when was the last time you read a strategy paper that acknowledged the asshattery that is the American political scene? I thought so.