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Strategy and Defence Planning: Meeting the Challenge of Uncertainty [Hardcover]

Colin S. Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £55.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Jun 2014
Strategy and Defence Planning: Meeting the Challenge of Uncertainty explores and examines why and how security communities prepare purposefully for their future defence. The author explains that defence planning is the product of interplay among political process, historical experience, and the logic of strategy. The theory of strategy best reveals both the nature and the working of defence planning. Political 'ends', strategic 'ways', and military 'means' all fed by reigning, if not always recognized, assumptions, organize the subject well with a template that can serve any time, place, and circumstance. The book is designed to help understanding of what can appear to be a forbiddingly complex as well as technical subject.

A good part of the problem for officials charged with defence planning duties is expressed in the second part of the book's title. The real difficulty, which rarely is admitted by those tasked with defence planning duty, is that defence planning can only be guesswork. But, because defence preparation is always expensive, not untypically is politically unpopular, yet obviously can be supremely important, claims to knowledge about the truly unknowable persist. In truth, we cannot do defence planning competently, because our ignorance of the future precludes understanding of what our society will be shown by future events to need. The challenge faced by the author was to identify ways in which our problems with the inability to know the future in any detail in advance-the laws of nature, in other words-may best be met and mitigated. Professor Gray argues that our understanding of human nature, of politics, and of strategic history, does allow us to make prudent choices in defence planning that hopefully will prove 'good enough'.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (26 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198701845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198701842
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 1.8 x 16 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Dr Colin S. Gray is a political scientist with broad interests in national security policy, defence policy, strategy, strategic theory, and military history. He was educated at the University of Manchester (B.A. [Econ.] hons.), 1965, and at Lincoln College, Oxford University (D.Phil., International Politics, 1970). He is Professor of International Politics and Strategic Studies, and Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies, at the University of Reading, England, and is a Senior Fellow at the National Institute for Public Policy, Fairfax, VA, USA. From 1982 until 1987 Dr Gray held a Presidential appointment when he served on the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. In April 1987 he was presented with the Superior Public Service Award by the US Department of the Navy. In 1997-98 he served on the Panel of Experts on the UK Strategic Defence Review. In 2009-10 he was a member of the Defence Advisory Forum for the UK Ministry of Defence.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Fog of Peace 4 July 2014
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The author is a distiguished professor at Reading University who has advised several US Presidents on arms control and nuclear weapons. He is the author of many books on Strategy and International Relations.

In this new book he examines the complex problem of defence planning, pointing out it is not an exact science. Indeed it is conducted in an environment of uncertainty. The unknown is always threatening. Of particular concern today is the long lead and lag times for a new weapon or piece of military hardware. A new tank, for example will take up to 10 or more years to be battlefield ready.

Defence planning is to do with the management of risk (hard to define) in an uncertain future. The risk management is always a political process. Reliable knowledge about the future is unknowable. Ignorance pervades the planning process. Threats are always uncertain. History tell us that surprise is just around the corner. One of the key challenges is to link mlitary means to political ends given limited resources. The recent UK Defence Review is a good example of the problems involved. Significant cuts have and will be made to all the armed services. Will the future show these have been wise or horribly wrong? Are carriers of any use given the improvement in missiles, is our nuclear detterent needed now the cold war has ended-but has it? Are airborne forces any longer required. Will the current insurgent/terrorist warfare last or will conventional threats rear their head again? These are only a small selection of the many complex questions to which there is no simple answer. Get the answer wrong and you end up with unbalanced and mishaped armed forces equipped with the wrong weapons.
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