Grand strategy is a unifying, long-term vision of a country’s global values and interests; an expression of where that country is, and wants to go in the world, and; an analysis of its potential and capacity to achieve the objectives, and to reach the destination set forth.
[T]he role of grand strategy – higher strategy – is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object of the war – the goal defined by fundamental policy.
Grand strategy should both calculate and develop the economic resources and man-power of nations in order to sustain the fighting services. Also the moral resources – for to foster the people’s willing spirit is often as important as to possess the more concrete forms of power. Grand strategy, too, should regulate the distribution of power between the several services, and between the services and industry. Moreover, fighting power is but one of the instruments of grand strategy – which should take account of and apply the power of financial pressure, and, not least of ethical pressure, to weaken the opponent’s will. …
Furthermore, while the horizons of strategy is bounded by the war, grand strategy looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace. It should not only combine the various instruments, but so regulate their use as to avoid damage to the future state of peace – for its security and prosperity.
As far as a world power like America is concerned, a grand strategy involves first imagining some future world order within which our nation’s standing, prosperity, and security are significantly enhanced, and then plotting and maintaining a course to that desired end while employing—to the fullest extent possible—all elements of our nation’s power toward generating those conditions. Naturally, such grand goals typically take decades to achieve, thus the importance of having a continuous supply of grand thinkers able to maintain strategic focus.
Boyd’s four elements of grand strategy:
* Improve our morale and that of our allies
* Degrade that of our opponents
* Attract the uncommitted
* Without setting the stage for future (unfavorable) conflict.
Grand strategy, according to Boyd, is a quest to isolate your enemy’s (a nation-state or a global terrorist network) thinking processes from connections to the external/reference environment. This process of isolation is essentially the imposition of insanity on a group. To wit: any organism that operates without reference to external stimuli (the real world), falls into a destructive cycle of false internal dialogues. These corrupt internal dialogues eventually cause dissolution and defeat.
The dynamic of Boyd’s grand strategy is to isolate your enemy across three essential vectors (physical, mental, and moral), while at the same time improving your connectivity across those same vectors. Here’s more detail:
* Physical isolation is accomplished by severing communications both to the outside world (ie. allies) and internal audiences (ie. between branches of command and between the command organization and its supporters).
* Mental isolation is done through the introduction of ambiguous information, novel situations, and by operating at a tempo an enemy cannot keep up with. A lack of solid information impedes decision making.
* Moral isolation is achieved when an enemy improves its well being at the expense of others (allies) or violates rules of behavior they profess to uphold (standards of conduct). Moral rules are a very important reference point in times of uncertainty. When these are violated, it is very hard to recover.
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