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 here.