Project North Star: Strategic Foresight for U.S. Grand Strategy

Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Abbreviated as VUCA, these four attributes can arguably be used to characterize the current state of the United States, as well as the state of the world itself. In light of this, the Aerospace Corporation launched Project North Star to explore the best methods for formulating a U.S National Grand Strategy. Project North Star brought together a diverse group of over 50 experts with the main goal of incorporating strategic foresight methodologies into the formation of the U.S. National Grand Strategy, versus the more traditional approaches of formulating strategy. The Aerospace Corporation has recently published the findings and conclusions of the study, Project North Star: Strategic Foresight for U.S. Grand Strategy.

The Grand Strategy, as defined by the authors, “is a fusion of national vision and objectives the U.S. intends to achieve, why it needs to achieve them, and the ‘theory of victory’ that outlines how and why the U.S. will succeed in achieving them despite opposition and ill fortune.” To integrate more strategic foresight into the formation of a National Grand Strategy, the authors encourage an approach that brings in a wider variety of diverse perspectives; includes more transparency and documentation throughout the process; and allows the strategy to be more flexible and adaptable, rather than rigid and singular.

It is important to note, the goal of Project North Star was not to propose a U.S. National Grand Strategy, but instead to explore a better and more effective approach of strategic planning.

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