Strategy and Cost: A Gap in Our Military Decision-Making Process   [open pdf - 173KB]

This article from the Air and Space Power Journal's Fall 2008 issue discusses the lack of cost considerations in current strategies developed by the military for civilian policy makers. This article proposes that military leaders present policy makers with a menu of options so that these elected officials can take cost into consideration when selecting military-related options for a stated, long-term goal. "Unfortunately, the structure of the current military decision-making process (MDMP) is deficient in at least two major respects as regards preparing military leaders to fulfill that role (i.e., the role of determining or advising appropriate courses of action). First, it assumes the existence of an established objective or clearly stated end, when in fact this is often unsettled. […] Because the current MDMP focuses primarily on how we can most effectively fulfill any given objective, war fighters produce robust plans without considering expense. Civilian policy makers, however, are interested in knowing more than just the most effective military option. Because they must manage disparate interests that compete for limited financial resources, these policy makers are most concerned with evaluating efficiency and effectiveness trade-offs among various alternatives. They may opt for a less effective military option that provides better value for their investment, given other demands on public resources. Consequently, civilian policy makers need to know the likely cost before they set political objectives so they can better manage competing public interests. Our elected leaders would be better served by a new military decision-making approach that provides a range of options, including low-cost alternatives to strategic challenges."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Air and Space Power Chronicles: http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles
Media Type:
Air and Space Power Journal (Fall 2008), Vol.22, No.3, p.89-96
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