Power, Politics, and Process: Issues in U.S. Grand Strategy

  • Colonel Michael James Daniels

This paper examines American grand strategy in the post-Cold War era, both as a term of art and as a guiding principle for great power politics, to answer several questions: Is grand strategy still relevant and necessary, especially for a great power? Is there an “American way” of grand strategy, and if so, is it unique? Does the United States currently have a grand strategy? Finally, what are the current challenges in grand strategic development, and can the process be better led, informed, communicated, and executed? There is a need for a grand strategy, now and in the future. However, defining and executing grand strategy is problematic. Current requirements must be brought into balance with a vision for the future, as well as with competing domestic and international interests. A specific proposal for U.S. grand strategy lies outside the scope of this paper, though some suggestions are presented that may help modernize, streamline, and demystify the strategic development process. Lastly, national power and strategy models are presented to help visualize the current strategic calculus, and improve future efforts.