Making Strategic Risk Assessment Strategic: A Departure from Doctrine

  • Lieutenant Colonel Anthony W. Rush

The doctrinal view of risk and its assessment is inadequate for use at the strategic level. The reliance upon models which assign a single-value, such as low, medium, or high, to risk creates an over simplistic view of risk and its consequence. Shifting the definition of risk from the probability and severity of loss calculus in doctrine to a definition that incorporates ends, ways, means, interests, and consequence sharpens the view of risk. This definition demands a new framework to assess risk. A five-step risk assessment process is proposed to broaden the view of risk and how it may be more sufficiently conveyed to strategic leaders by shifting away from an actuarial model of risk assessment to a framework suitable for strategy.