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Strategy and Defence PlanningMeeting the Challenge of Uncertainty$
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Colin S. Gray

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198701842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198701842.001.0001

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Defining the Challenge

Defining the Challenge

Preparation, Not (Only) Plans

(p.17) 1 Defining the Challenge
Strategy and Defence Planning

Colin S Gray

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the full scope of the challenge of this work in detail. The principal features on the whole landscape that is the context for defence planning is presented and explained. The chapter begins by underlining why and how the future is always foreign to us. This fact is scientifically both certain and obvious to the point of being banal. But, that said, serious and persistent efforts are made to know the unknowable. In good part, foolish seeming endeavours to look ahead in time simply reflect the fact that we are literally obliged to conduct defence planning for the unknowable future, literally regardless of the unavoidable quality of our ignorance. The chapter identifies the most suitable ambitions for defence planning, paying particular attention to the value of ‘good enough’ as a suitable standard, keyed to the value of flexibility and consequent adaptability. Foolish ambitions for predictive wisdom are targeted for criticism. The chapter emphasises the political nature of the subject.

Keywords:   future, preparation, planning, calculation, politics, uncertainty, contingency

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