Strategy has long been the subject of scholarly study and policy analysis. Historians and social scientists alike have written widely about strategic thought, process, and practice. Scholars continue to dissect the meaning of strategy.11 War colleges teach courses on the subject, as do civilian colleges. Yale University, for instance, has a well-regarded program on grand strategy, and other universities have followed suit.
Strategy and strategy-making are complex phenomena, not reducible to a simplistic mechanical process, and the making of strategy deserves more study than it often receives. In many respects, U.S. strategic planning has been rendered nearly useless because the processes have become routinized and thereby trivialized. Legislatively required documents such as the National Security Strategy and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) initially may have been useful but now are merely periodic bureaucratic exercises.
The result is what Colin Gray calls “a black hole where American strategy ought to reside.”22 What the United States needs is a return to the long-range strategic planning process that it implemented during the Cold War.