September 2nd 2014 - 11:02

As the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan draws to an end, the ‘West’ is starting to take a hard look back at two decades of global stabilization efforts. The ‘lessons learned’ literature on these efforts is exploding. One of the dominant themes in this literature is the need to embed the specifically military toolkit into a much more comprehensive, integrated approach towards planning and executing such operations.

In this forward-looking report, HCSS goes a step further by focusing not on the operational but on the strategic level of decision-making. Today, this strategic layer is driven much more by domestic and international ‘politicking’ than by creative strategic thinking. This report advocates a new approach to strategic decision-making which we label ‘strategic design’. It summarizes and borrows some key insights from the ‘design thinking’ literature in the business and public management literature and applies those to the security challenges surrounding stabilization efforts. The report then illustrates this approach by developing and evaluating a few ‘design sketches’ for new capability elements that even a small force provider like The Netherlands could start developing.

The report might be of interest to strategic planners and decision-makers on both the military and civilians side.

The report can be downloaded with the button on the right. 

Stephan De Spiegeleire is Principal Scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy. His current work at HCSS focuses on strategic defense management, security resilience, network-centrism, capabilities-based planning, and the transformation of defense planning.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
As an air force officer he has an extensive operational background in air & missile defence, serving as battery control officer with Hawk and Patriot systems, commander of 119 Active Air Defence Squadron at Air Base Leeuwarden and commander of the Guided Missile Group at Air Base De Peel.